By CHRIS MARKHAM
One of the best-kept secrets at the University of Mary Washington is the street hockey club. This small group of students gathers twice a week at the outdoor basketball court next to the Framar House, or “the cage” as it is known to many. With their sticks, pads and nets, the club enjoys a sneaker-version variation of the classic game.
Recently, however, members of the UMW street hockey club have begun competing locally in the Fredericksburg area for the first time since the formation of the school club. While the team that competes in the Fredericksburg Roller Hockey League is not the same as the club that plays pick-up hockey on campus, the roller hockey team is comprised of many of the same individuals.
The team competes in the Fredericksburg league as the “Mary Washington Eagles” against three other local teams and generally plays their games on Sunday nights. The teams that they play against consist of men from a wide range of age groups, making it a unique and competitive experience.
“The league is all about keeping hockey alive in Fredericksburg,” sophomore member Ethan Tobin said. “A couple guys told me about the league last year, and it inspired me to put together a team to represent UMW.”
The roller hockey that the Mary Washington Eagles play is different from regular hockey in that there are only four skaters and a goalie on the rink at a time. The team has ten members total, compared to the 15-20 students who come out to play pick-up street hockey as part of the school-recognized club.
“At UMW, it is a great way to meet new people, it is a great group of guys and a tremendous physical activity,” Tobin said.
The Mary Washington Eagles currently have a record of 0-1-2, with their most recent overtime loss coming on Sunday, Sept. 21 by a score of 11-10. The Eagles held a 9-4 lead in the third period, but the opposing team was able to come back and prevent them from earning their first win of the year.
Tobin, who is a member of both the street hockey club and the roller hockey team, hopes to make the roller hockey team a school recognized club in the future and compete in more local leagues and tournaments.
“It is going really well so far,” Tobin said. “One of my goals in the next couple of years is to get a roller hockey club at UMW and hopefully get some support from the school.”
The street hockey club meets Monday and Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. and encourages anybody who wants to play to come and bring their own stick if possible. Even if not officially in the club, anybody is welcome to come out, play and enjoy the experience.