The University of Miami roller hockey club has competed for four seasons in the Collegiate Roller Hockey League (CRHL) Southern division of the Southeast region.
The UM team competes as a division II school in this league and in its fourth season, it finished with a 13-11 record, its best mark to date. Their record was good enough to earn an invitation to the CRHL National Tournament to compete for the D-II title in St. Louis, MO.
“Being invited to compete for the D-II title was significant because we knew we had a shot to win the title,” said assistant captain Jon Harper.
The ‘Canes compete as a D-II school in the tournament, however all season they were forced to play mostly D-I schools because of a lack of division II schools in the South.
In a lot of games, the ‘Canes knew they would be overmatched playing a big division I program with a lot more students, so it was a good thing for them to be able to compete in a division II tournament.
“It was a matter of respect. In our region we play D-I schools, so to be able to go out there and have a chance to win was good for us,” said Harper.
In the national tournament elimination rounds, the ‘Canes fell to SUNY in the first game 8-1, but came back strong with a 5-4 win over Miami-Ohio, and a 3-3 tie versus Kansas State in the third game. This gave Miami a No. 4 seed in the tournament.
The Hurricanes played fifth seeded Southwest Missouri State with the chance to play No. 1 Ball State if they won. However, SWMS beat the ‘Canes 5-4, ending their season and D-II title hopes.
Still, the team competed well and the tournament was a very good experience.
“Once we knew we could make the tournament, we came together as a group and played hard to win. . . We were really dedicated,” said goalie Brian Gruthrie.
In the national tournament, captain Andy Hooper led the ‘Canes with four goals and four assists in four games. Assistant captain Jon Harper followed with two goals, three assists, and 11 penalty minutes.
Todd Eling also had four goals for the ‘Canes in the tournament.
The roller hockey club received funding this season from student government and SAFAC, and the team’s success can be attributed partly to the contributions that these two organizations have made to the club.
“Student government helps us financially as well as SAFAC. They have given us money every year for equipment and to travel with, which limits our personal expenses,” said Harper.
The roller hockey club welcomes all skill levels of players to play pick up games with them every Monday and Wednesday in the Mahoney/Pearson courts. From those pick-up games, they select their travel team that plays in the league.
This club has high hopes for the future.
“We will be competing next year for the championship,” said Harper.