Thursday, November 6, 2014

KSU Hockey

Kennesaw State’s hockey program joins the plethora of excitement surrounding Owl athletics, striking excitement in students, growing in popularity, and even becoming a winning team. Coming off a one-year suspension during the 2013-2014 season, which was due to team members violating a club policy when team members trashed a hotel room, the Owls have resumed at full strength sporting a 7-2 record to start their 2014-2015 campaign with wins over Tulane, Ole Miss, and cross-state rival Life University.

A Division III club sport competing in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), the Owls have had success in the past on a national scale, winning the National Championship in 2006-07 and have competed on the national level a few times since.

The team currently plays their home games at Kennesaw’s Ice Forum and draw a significant amount of fans from the local community. Right Wing Alex Dolhon favorably compares the attendance at Owls home games to that of other arenas the team has visited on the road. Boasting about 500 to 1,000 fans per game, KSU is one of the ACHA’s leaders in overall game attendance and it shows a significant impact on the players momentum.

“We went to like, Nashville, they had no fans, Charleston, they don’t have any fans. Nothing compares to playing at home. The atmosphere and the home field advantage is just great.” said Dolhon. “People like hockey around here. I think they just enjoy the games. We’re a good team, so they enjoy the games. When the fans are louder, I think we feel better hearing the chants and all that it’s a great atmosphere.”

Despite Kennesaw’s winning success and growing fanbase on home ice, the players know that the hockey dream stops on Barrett Parkway. Being a club sport, they will not have the opportunity to become professional in the sport following graduation. The motive behind being apart of KSU hockey is truly for the love of the game “I’ve been playing for about 14 years now and I love the game, and it’s addicting.” said Dolhon “My cousin got me into hockey and I started becoming a big fan and started playing.”

Assistant captain and center Rick Fiorillo says that playing the game is more of a release to relieve stress "The whole year we weren't playing hockey, I was going crazy. I had to work out every day." said Fiorillo. "I love hockey, it's a relases and I enjoy the atmosphere and camaraderie of the team."

The team shares a tight chemistry on and off the ice, advertising their games outside KSU's Commons area and spending time with other team members. "We are always in contact with each other, working out at the gym together, eating lunch in the Commons, there's a good strong bond." said Fiorillo "We all know that we aren't going anywhere, that this is our last opportunity to play good hockey, so it's very much for love of the game."

Owls hockey has many exciting renovations to look forward to. The goal of the team is to reach Division II within the next season and they will also have a new ice hockey rink built behind the Party City on Barrett Parkway within the next year which will help the team's constant time restraints at the Ice Forum whilst providing them with a new home complete with their own locker room. 

No comments:

Post a Comment