STLCC club sports get rolling on the rink

Posted on 26 September 2017 by Ian Schrauth

Roller hockey program gains additional team for 2017-2018 season

 

By: Melissa Wilkinson
Editor-in-Chief

 

After surprising everyone by making it to nationals in their premiere season, STLCC Meramec’s roller hockey team is aiming to get there again, according to Coach Greg Gorman.

“We started off slow the first half of the season and caught fire the second half,” said Gorman. “If we go to nationals again, it will be in North Dakota.”

Practice is held each Tuesday at Queeny Park in Ballwin and goes late, from 10pm to midnight. Despite the team’s nascence, Coach Gorman returned to the field with a team full of familiar faces.

“There’s only one player that didn’t come back this year,” said Gorman.

There are two teams, representing STLCC and Meramec respectively.

Last year only one team existed but, according to Gorman, enough players signed up to form an entirely new team.

One returning player is captain Tyler Plaggenburg, a Meramec student who was instrumental in the formation of the team last year.

“I was one of three who went to talk to our coach, Greg Gorman,” said Plaggenburg. “Coach was onboard right away. The hardest part was finding players who would be committed.”3

According to Plaggenburg, he and his teammates were responsible for getting the word out about Meramec’s team.

Luke Miller, who joined the Meramec team this year, said he found out it through a teammate on Afton’s roller hockey team.

“I knew I was going to Meramec,” said Miller. “But the roller hockey was definitely a plus.”

Miller said he also played ice hockey, but found more success in roller hockey. Roller hockey is different from ice hockey in many ways, from the type of puck used to the level of contact allowed.

“No checking in roller,” said Gorman. “But I will say this; there is a lot of borderline checking on the college level. You’ve got to body them up.”

Checking is a hockey term referring to when a player attempts to disrupt an opponent’s possession of the puck. According to Gorman, last season his team experienced a rough awakening in the preseason tournament when they experienced a lack of adherence to this rule by opposing teams.

“When they were first playing…they were like ‘Coach, why aren’t they calling this or that?’ I said, boys, this is a whole other level of playing. Get used to it,” said Gorman.

According to Plaggenburg, such behavior is to be anticipated.

“It’s not high school anymore,” said Plaggenburg. “It’s a lot faster. Kids are bigger and better. Skate with your heads up and try your hardest.”

The season runs all year long, according to Gorman. Games are played in October and November, followed by a break during the holiday season. Playing resumes at the end of January. Regionals are held at the end of February with nationals during the last week in April.

This semester both teams will travel in early November to Tennessee. As a club sport, the majority of travel expenses are the responsibility of its members.

“We’re a club team, so we’re not a sponsored sport,” said Gorman. “A lot of the cost falls on the players. Last year we started a GoFundMe to support us going to nationals.”

According to Miller, roller hockey is a lesser known sport that deserves more attention.

“If you really pay attention, it’s just as physical as ice hockey. It’s just a little slower,” said Miller. “I think it’s a really fun sport to watch.”

 

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