First-year hockey club places tops in Nationals

Morgan Cullen

A captain with a broken wrist, seven players short, and only $300 in funding from City College didn’t stop the Men’s Roller Hockey team from placing third at the National Championships.

The team faced an abundance of issues throughout the year, but managed to pull together for a successful conclusion to its first season.

“It hurt like hell,” said team captain Chaz Donati, 20. “I had never broken a bone before, I didn’t know what a broken wrist felt like.”

Donati injured his right wrist in the second game of the tournament. He received medical attention upon his return to Santa Barbara. The break was so severe; he was required to have surgery last Monday.

“I don’t think he knew how serious it was,” said Paul McGarry, assistant professor of English as a second language, and advisor to the team. “We tried all the basic stuff like icing and Advil.”

Donati played through the entire tournament and despite his suffering, scored three goals.

“I just taped it up really tight,” Donati said.

It wasn’t an option for him to sit out. Only six skaters and one goalie made the trip to the tournament, which took place on April 6 to 10 in Madison, Wisc.

Roller hockey is a fast-paced game played with four skaters and one goalie. Ideally, teams should have two, if not three additional lines. The Vaqueros couldn’t afford to play with only one substitute player.

“Most of the teams had double the players that we did,” forward Pat Bridgman said.

Other teammates had to back out due to personal commitments, and lack of funds.

“If we had 14 players, we could have easily won it,” 24-year-old goaltender Dustin Skipworth said.

McGarry said he was impressed by their dedication and love of the sport and “they were all tired and over-worked, but no one complained.”

Along with glaring disadvantages in the rink, the squad had to overcome financial obstacles as well.

“I realize that because it was our first year, the school didn’t want to throw a pile of money our way,” said Donati. “But we went to nationals and finished in third place, we know we can compete.”

The club hopes for more financial recognition from the school for its next season. They want to raise awareness of the hockey team, and petition for more money from City College.

Practicing at UCSB’s indoor roller hockey rink is expensive, not to mention tournament entry fees.

“I’ve personally spent way over $1000 to play for this team,” Bridgman said.

Hockey equipment is expensive, players had to pay for their own jerseys and all of their own travel costs to and from tournaments including hotel rooms and plane tickets to Madison.

Along with the need for more funding, the players agree that having a coach would be the ultimate tool for success. A coach would serve as an authority figure, and a source of motivation for Saturday morning practices.

Try-outs for the fall 2011 team will be held at the end of August. The team hopes to have a coach to help make the final cuts.