Team ready to lace up skates again

Hockey is making its return to Marquette club sports. After falling apart four years ago, the club hockey team is resurfacing and looking for members.

The formation of the team began last year. After discovering that Marquette had a club hockey team from about 1970 until 2000, juniors Mike Westphal and Matt Goebel decided to look into reestablishing the team.

The pair printed up flyers to hang around campus and held a meeting to get a feel for the interest in having a team.

Westphal, the club president, said the initial meeting had a turn out of about 60 people, enough to convince him and Goebel, the club vice president, to work on bringing back the team.

"We went through the process [of starting the club with recreation sports] and held pick up sessions once a week for about eight weeks," Westphal said.

After getting permission for the club, Westphal, Goebel and the other eight members of the executive board began the search for a coach and sent out recruiting information, Spencer said.

The board decided on Ian Spencer, who is in his 19th year of coaching hockey. Spencer is an assistant coach for Team Wisconsin, a 16-year-old and under national-championship-bound team.

The team will hold tryouts on Sept. 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. at the Ponds of Brookfield. Tryouts will be open to any Marquette student interested in playing, Spencer said.

"We want everyone who's out there who's interested in hockey to come to tryouts," he said. "We not trying to exclude anyone. It'll be a good chance to come out and play some hockey."

Spencer is looking forward to the season and to coaching the team.

"It's nice to have that varying perspective," he said. "You'll have guys out there that are at all levels."

The team will be part of the National Collegiate Hockey Association and the Mid-America Collegiate Hockey Association, with probationary status, Westphal said. However, if they have a successful season they will become a formal member of the association next year.

"We want to have a successful first season that will give us something to build on in the future," Westphal says.

Spencer hopes the team is able to avoid the problems the 1999-2000 team faced, which lead to its disbandment. The team faced financial problems in 1999 and didn't have as much fan support at the games as they would have liked, Spencer said.

Spencer and the team are trying to make coming to games as accessible as they can for fans.

"We're working on seeing what they can do to get shuttles out to the games," he said.

The team has between 23 and 25 open spots and will begin practicing Sept. 9. Its first game will be Oct. 8th at McKendree College in Lebanon, Ill.