Hockey at Alabama? What You Should Know and Why You Should Support It.
By: Larry Burton
Yes, sometimes even the oldest of sportswriters who have been around the longest and think they knew everything finds something that stumps them. Such was the case when I learned that the Alabama hockey team was rated 20th.
Hockey you say? At Alabama you say? And they play it well you say?
Well, if you were like me, here’s what you need to know and why you should support it.
Like most sports, it was first founded as a club, students with a love of the game got together on their own without school help and formed a hockey club back in 2005. Ten years later it was elevated into the highest level of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) at the Division-III level college hockey. Alabama is one of two SEC schools to have a program competing at this level although other SEC schools have clubs and are working to get to that designation.
Why you may not have heard about it is a lack of school support at this point, since as it is still not an official funded program by the university, there just hasn’t been a lot of buzz, but the team deserves your support because they’re working their tails off, working without a university site to play at and mostly funding it themselves as players. They drive just over an hour each way to play at the Pelham Civic Complex just South of Birmingham and have been doing that since their beginning. Now that’s dedication.
How I heard about it was on Mark Packer’s show “Off Campus” on ESPNU radio while driving home from work. His topic that day was “Sports Best Kept Secrets” and a caller called in to say that Alabama not only had a hockey team, but a pretty good one at that who had just broke into the top 20. “Pacman” as he is known by his listeners, was as stunned as I was and refused to believe it until he saw for himself that it was true.
There’s not a lot for you to Google and learn more about this team other than its own website, http://www.alabamahockeyclub.com . But if you’re remotely in the area, why not show some love and give a little support to a team that really needs both. With just two games left in February, there isn’t a lot of time left. If you can’t do that, they do offer video and audio broadcasts online and you can even go to their Facebook page and show them a little love HERE.
Hey, we here at Touchdown Alabama Magazine are like you, we love the Crimson Tide and for the rest of the season, we’ll give a shout out to their efforts. By the way, they split a series with Utah this weekend, winning the first 6-1 and missing the second 2-4 in contests at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex in Utah. Their next two games are against Missouri State, Feb. 8th and 9th at the Pelham Civic Complex here in Alabama.
I know of one young lady in Minnesota who loves all things Crimson Tide and she listens to the games all the way from there. Way to go Lecy Anne Marino! If she can do that from Minnesota, what can the good Tide fans do within driving distance do? Do something different, do something that will mean a lot to a bunch of guys working their tails off to make Alabama a well rounded sports school. Try and make it to at least one of the last two games. I think you’ll be glad you did. At just $10 a ticket for adults, $5 for students and under 12, it’s cheaper than going to a movie and the popcorn is a whole cheaper too, so show them some love this week!
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Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter