By KATRINA TULLOCH ([email protected])
Hockey at Allegheny College is in a strong and spirited state this semester with an influx of eager intramural teams and ideas for expansion.
“We have IM Floor Hockey that has been an IM sport for quite some time, longer than I have been here,” said Tony Cipollone, Associate Director of Athletics and Recreational Services. “We have a Club Ice Hockey team that has been in existence for a while as well.”
Greg Merz, ’10, is the captain of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon IM Floor Hockey Team, which won the IM Floor Hockey championships last year.
“At Allegheny, IM hockey is pretty competitive,” said Merz. “There is a fall season and a spring season, and the competition in both is usually pretty good. This year, there are nine teams in the league, which is about the same as previous years, so I’m not sure IM hockey is expanding, but its popularity is certainly not declining.”
An official IM Floor Hockey League was started by Ian McMeans and J.R. Lovre during a 2005-2006 season, according to Forrest Smith, the current head of the IM Hockey League.
“I believe there have been uninterrupted seasons since that time,” said Smith, ’12. “IM Floor Hockey is unique in that there really isn’t a requirement to have any talent or skill to play. The atmosphere of IM Floor Hockey is really what you make it; it can be relaxed and fun or incredibly intense. Our goals for this semester’s season are to have our teams show up and play and have a good time.”
Smith also has fresh ideas for expanding the variety of hockey sports at Allegheny.
“I had looked into the idea of creating Intramural or even Club Roller Hockey, as there has been interest from some of the Floor Hockey participants,” said Smith. “The roller hockey idea has been wishful thinking on my part since my freshman year. I would be interested in hearing how a new Club or Intercollegiate sport is developed at Allegheny, because that is what I wanted to do with roller hockey and the NCRHA (National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association).”
For many students, starting a new Allegheny sport is a rather effortless process.
“Starting a new team is really easy,” said Merz. “All you have to do is e-mail the director of the league your roster before the deadline, which is typically a week or so before the season starts.”
But according to Smith, the development hasn’t been quite a cakewalk.
“Creation of a new intramural sport is actually quite difficult,” he said. “If students are committed to the idea of your intramural sport and you can get enough support, then it’s much easier to push your program through. However, sometimes logistics and resources just aren’t there.”
For the students interested in roller hockey, such logistical problems may be the case, particularly in the lack for a proper space.
“Wise Center staff refuses to let us skate on the rubber blue courts (even though they aren’t used for any varsity games and our wheels are just rubber), and Allegheny and Meadville lack any other reliable surfacing,” said Smith. “In that case, the interest and support would be there, but the resources unfortunately are not.”
In the meantime, hockey players and fans can continue to enjoy the IM floor hockey games.
“I’m looking forward to the playoffs and seeing which teams will come out on top this year,” said Smith. “There are some good teams who have played in previous years, but there are also some new teams that could topple the dynasties so it should prove to be an interesting year.”