By AMANDA CHAPMAN
Starting late in the evening every Friday and Saturday night you can feel the energy of
the Kennesaw State University ice hockey team getting fired up in the small rink a mile away from campus.
When you open the doors of the Ice Forum around 10 p.m. on these nights, you can see
the team as they take the ice, ready for another victory against a rival that will go home to a bigger rink and more support from their school.
What is the problem with this picture you might ask? The fact that the KSU ice hockey
team has gone to numerous championships, won titles and has finished as the top in the division many years in a row and the school does not seem to notice.
This year, the team hopes they will start noticing.
Kennesaw State University needs to recognize that this team is worthy of more than a
small rink and stands; they need more support from the school as well as from its students.
“There are a few reasons the team has little support,” said Will Galucki, the Owl’s right wing forward. “Awareness. Students don’t know we have a team and let alone that we are good. Also, the facility that we play in, and the times of our games all play a role.”
This past season went better than expected for the under-supported victors. They went 23-2-2 and ranked No. 2 in their division. In March, the team is headed to St. Louis for the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament.
This is not a new trend. The team has been ranking high in its division for years and nothing has changed.
What exactly is the problem? Clearly this team is good enough to be taken more
seriously than it is.
“I think it is the region we live in,” said Kasey Smith, a KSU graduate and hockey fan. “The South doesn’t support ice hockey like other parts of the United States.”
This point does not go unnoticed by the Owls team. Atlanta has a history of losing hockey teams. After losing the Flames in 1980, the city lost the second hockey team, the Thrashers, last year when the team moved to Winnipeg, Canada. This area seems to overlook the sport as a whole.
When no support is given to a team it eventually falls through. The one thing that the KSU team has that the Thrashers never did, the record.
“The team will not be going anywhere as long as they keep up the impressive work on the ice that they have been showing in the past years, but we do need more support,” Galucki said.
The need for support for the team is very real. Right now the team is getting ready to visit St. Louis for Nationals and needs financial support. The players have looked to social media as a way to raise money for the event and are coming up with it out of their own pocket.
“We are trying to focus on winning a national championship this year,” said Galucki, “and depending on that, we might move up to division II and compete at that level. That will be a big thing for the team and might bring the spotlight we need.”