The Texas State hockey club looks to turn this season into one that will give the club recognition in the area and nation, despite going 7-15 last year.
Coach Bob Smith looks to continue building the hockey program in his second year with the Bobcats. He will do so with limited funds for skating time, no skating rinks in the San Marcos area and 18 players.
“We have nothing to offer but pure love of the game,” Smith said. “Anyone who wants to be a first class player, come aboard. We’re ready for you.”
The hockey team held tryouts in August to replenish its roster but will be recruiting until the end of October. As new additions to the team, Sawyer Stull and Dylan Carpenter, freshman goalies, are still battling for a starting position. Forward Jason Crabtree and Sean Wilson, who skated on the same line as high scorer Dominick Girard, are returning to the team this season. The coaching staff has yet to name a team captain to lead this season.
“We might name the captain of the team after this weekend,” Smith said. “I will say that it will be a veteran player.”
Two key players will not be returning to the ice this season, including forward Casey Savage and goaltender Patrick Parker, who both graduated last year. Girard, previously the team’s point leader, now serves in the U.S. Air Force. With 18 players on the roster, assistant coach Dave McShane looks to gain more.
“We need at least 25 players so we have others to take up another player’s position in case of injury, poor grades or family emergencies,” McShane said. “We are asking our better skilled players to add more guys to the team.”
The team is in its third year of existence and so far no scholarships have been given to the players because of a lack of funding available to the hockey club. The nearest skating rinks the team can practice on are in Austin and San Antonio, requiring the players to commute to practices.
The club will play 30 games, twice as many as when they first started two years ago. The coaching staff has established a set of goals they wish to accomplish this year.
“We want national recognition within the American Collegiate Hockey Association,” Smith said. “We want to establish a winning tradition and a fraternity within the community. We want the players to have fun and to make this a life building experience.”
This season will be the team’s first year playing on the Division I level. The club will play its first Division I game against Central Oklahoma Nov. 8, while the first game of the season will be Sept. 6, against North Texas.