By Mike Monti
Not many colleges get to say that they have an ice hockey or roller hockey team. This isn’t the case for Suffolk County Community College. However, can you really consider the roller hockey and the ice hockey team a part of the school if the school doesn’t cover its cost?
The Sharks, most people hear that name and think of the soccer team or the baseball team, but this is also the name of the roller hockey team that theSuffolk”sponsors.” The Sharks are a part of the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA).
Imagine growing up playing the sport you love and then getting into college and having to pay $600 just to be on the team. The $600 does not even include travel expenses, such as the lodging, gas or food.
These are just some of the expensive fees that Chris Diaz, a sophomore at Suffolk from Farmingville, has to pay while being on the roller hockey team.
“It was really disheartening when we talked to the Stony Brook team and they only had to pay $200 for all the league fees,” Diaz stated, who is taking a season off to save money.
When it comes to the price of the team, since it is not a part of Suffolk’s athletic program, the players had to pay a league fee of $600. However, on the first season with the team you also have to pay for the price of the jerseys, which is an extra fee of $100.
“Not being an actual part of the athletic program was really rough; we got no financial support from the school, no recognition at all for anything that we had accomplished,” says Diaz.
Another interesting fact that Diaz brought up that follows up with his last statement was that if the roller hockey team made it to the state championship, no one would really know about it unless they are friends or family members of one of the players.
When asked how he found out about the roller hockey team, Diaz replied: “I found out Suffolk had a team when I played a pick-up game with a couple of the kids from the team. During my first semester at the college, I ended up finding out about the tryout from another pick-up game I was playing and two of the players that were playing ended up playing on the roller hockey team and they ended up letting me know about it.”
On the other hand, defense-man Cody D’Alo, a freshman at Suffolk from Ronkon
koma, said he really didn’t care if the team was a part of the athletic program, because for him it’s just for fun.
However, D’Alo did say: “I would like to see the roller hockey team to become a part of the athletic program, because we put in a lot of time as a team to get good. We practice hard and travel enough for roller hockey to be on the athletic program. We are just as good as the soccer or baseball teams.”
When asked how D’Alo heard about the hockey team he replied: “I found out about the team when Ken Baldwin called me.”
D’Alo continued, “The best part of playing on this team definitely has to be the competition in our division. “There is never a game that is a walk in the park, and that is just good old hockey in my point of view.”
Travel is a big part of college sports as teams travel all over the Tri-state area for games against other colleges. Defense-man Shawn Hurst from Centereach talked about the travel the Sharks had to do during the season.
“It was pretty cool; we got to play against bigger name schools,”Hurst said. “The best part about playing for the college was definitely playing all these huge schools like Penn State, Rutgers,Templeor Hofstra, and in Nationals, seeing schools like Arizona,Michigan State,Ohio State and always being the underdog because we are a Community College it was a truly amazing experience,” Diaz stated.
“Travel was easily the most expensive part of being on the team,” says Diaz. “I probably spent $2000 at the end of the season, plus another $600 for nationals, but nationals was really worth it. We went to Wisconsin, which was completely different from New York.”
The one sport that doesn’t get as much notice as it should is hockey. Whether it is the NHL or college hockey, it always is back door to football and baseball, but telling a hockey player, professional, college, or even a recreational player that it is just nothing big, you better get ready to have a solid argument.
The Sharks are a group of talented, passionate hockey players who don’t get the right recognition that they should. They are just as passionate about hockey, as the baseball players are about baseball. If the team got some help from the college these players would be more known throughout the college sports