Men’s roller hockey will head to Utah for Nationals
A squad of dedicated hockey players are making a name for themselves _and having a lot of fun_ as Maryville University’s Roller Hockey Club.
The club sport is only in its second year, but the squad is heading to the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Championships from April 11-15 in Salt Lake City, Utah, after winning their regional conference in a 6-3 game against Illinois State.
Additionally, the team’s leading scorer sophomore Kyle Lovell, 20, of Chesterfield, Mo., has been named a Division II First Team All-American. He scored 42 goals in 15 games. “Oh man, I love the game of hockey,” says Lovell. The team members are enjoying the increased interest on campus in their sport, balancing their coursework with sometimes late-night practices and talk of lasting friendships they’ve made. They’re excited about the team’s progress so far. “Honestly, I think it has come together much better than anyone expected. We’ve got a strong squad, and I think we’ll do well in the Nationals,” says Lovell.
Maryville’s inline hockey club president, Matt Pierson, 19, of Overland, Mo., says many on the squad started out as ice hockey players _and many still play ice hockey_ but playing hockey on inline skates gives them more opportunities to play. “We’re a new sport, and we’re trying to get the word out about it,” says Pierson, a sophomore. “We wanted to be able to play the game we love.”
Maryville’s Assistant Director of Student Involvement Brian Gardner serves as the team’s adviser. He says the University has provided support for the club sport, but he’s been impressed by how much the team has accomplished themselves. “They’ve done everything possible to spread the word about the team; they’ve made sure they’ve been competitive every step of the way,” says Gardner, who is also a Maryville alumni. Maryville students, faculty and staff are encouraged to “follow the team’s progress at the Nationals and cheer them on,” Gardner says. The team has played from September into April. They practice once a week at Midwest Sport Hockey in Queeny Park in Ballwin, Mo.