Although it may not be the “Miracle on Ice,” there is one team on campus that has made a dramatic comeback.
The UM Roller Hockey Club, after struggling both competitively and financially just one year ago, is now arguably one of the more competitive club sports on campus. The team has a rags-to-riches-type story, where hard work and dedication led the team to its most successful season in recent memory and a bright future in front of it.
Both juniors, President Bradley Armas and Vice President Alex Lopez’s work ethics have been essential in this resurgence of the club, which recently won “Most Improved Club” at the Club Sports Award Banquet two weeks ago.
“The team was pretty much handed to us, so we had to start from scratch,” said Lopez, who has been with the club for three years. “We had to meet with Rhonda [DuBord] for hours and hours to try and save the club.”
The team currently has about 40 members, of which 12 travel and attend competitions. Practices are held at least once a week and are spent working on drills, recreating game scenarios and participating in team scrimmages.
Practice usually starts within the first two weeks that students return for classes.
Though classified as a Division-II team, the club faces both Division-I and Division-II opponents from the southeastern region, including state foes such as UF, FSU and UCF.
At one point this year, the roller hockey team was ranked as high as No. 10 in the country. This came after going 4-0 against both FSU and UF, beating them twice and then coming away with the club’s first ever victory against UCF, a national powerhouse in roller hockey.
“UCF was ranked No. 3 when we beat them, being able to do that for the first time ever was a high point in a season full of them,” said Armas, a finance major in his first year as president.
Not only was the team able to compete and win games against some of the better teams in the nation, but they were also able to get completely new wardrobes out of it as well. With the help of DuBord, associate director of club sports at the Wellness Center, and Micheal Borok, the club sports accountant and treasurer of the club baseball team, the roller hockey club was able to put together the money needed for new helmets, gloves and jerseys.
“Mike, Alex and Brad were awesome,” DuBord said. “I am very proud of them.”
All students have the opportunity to join the club, no matter what their level of experience is.
“We accept any members, male or female, and we provide equipment,” Armas said. “We just want members to fall in love with the game, just as we have.”
Ernesto Suarez may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.