Aug 232006
 
Authors: AARON SCHOONMAKER The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Following another impressive season of CSU Hockey that saw the Rams finish third in the nation, a dedicated off-season effort by second-year Head Coach Joe Sharrock will help put Ram hockey on the map.

“We have one hell of a hockey team on campus,” said Sharrock. “We have lots of dreams for the season that have not fallen off of the table yet.”

One dream that has already come true for the team is the announcement made following last season, that Edora Pool and Ice Center (EPIC) will host this year’s ACHA Division II national championships.

“We’re expecting a big season with hosting nationals,” said returning senior winger Jared Hillier.

The team will also expand its schedule by 14 games this season, including six road trips that will take them to North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Michigan, Arizona and Wyoming. Along with the optimistic schedule are five contests against upper-division club teams and tussles with six of the top 12 ranked teams in Division II.

“The point this season is to make hockey games the place to be,” said Sharrock, who plans to have a lot of entertainment at the games this year with fan appreciation nights, and potentially a police vs. firemen game. “I feel like we have a good fan base right now, and want to expand on that.”

CSU will also be hosting the Thanksgiving Western Classic Tournament from Nov. 17 to 19 for the first time. That will attract teams such as CU-Boulder, Idaho, Western Michigan, New Mexico and Nebraska.

Also with a new season come some new faces. Coach Sharrock has added to his coaching arsenal former Weber St. coach Kelly Newton and Major T.G. Taylor. Taylor arrives from West Point where he graduated two classes ahead of Sharrock,

“I think (Kelly) is a great addition and should be a lot of help,” said Hillier. “We’re going to be one of the teams that everybody wants to beat.”

Anyone interested in trying out for the team this season can attend the first informational meeting that will be held Aug. 29 in the Student Recreation Center lounge at 8 p.m. That meeting will be immediately followed by a drop-in skate at EPIC from 9:15 to 10:45 p.m. A second drop-in skate will be held on Thursday night from 9:30 to 11 p.m. The skates will cost $10 per session and ice availability will be on a “first pay-first play” basis.

For additional information go to www.csuramhockey.com or contact the club sports office located on the second floor of the Student Recreation Center.

Staff writer Aaron Schoonmaker can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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