SPU Sports Pulse

Has anybody noticed that the NHL is no longer operating? Do you even know what the NHL is? Well, if you don’t, then consider me an expert on Professional Sports League Acronyms (PSLA). Surprisingly, the National Hockey League (NHL) has something in common with the SPU (Seattle Pacific University) hockey club: neither one is operational. Or, at the very least, neither are doing the things you might expect to see in hockey organizations, things like playing hockey. The NHL is in the midst of a lockout, and the SPU hockey club is on hiatus until it garners enough interest to jump-start it back to life.

Former hockey club member Kevin Erwert was sad to see the club go. The team had been steadily improving in its short stint at SPU. "We moved up to division II this last year from division IV when we started playing," Kevin said of the club’s forward progress before its ultimate demise. Many of the players who were on the team each time they moved up a division began with little to no hockey experience. "A lot of players hadn’t played before," Kevin explained. "So they really improved after a couple years."

But the success of those players was lost when many of them graduated last year. The hockey club, lacking a large group of participants, lost funding. "With the college life of only four years, it’s tough to keep players," Kevin reasoned.

He also admitted that hockey requires a much greater commitment than most other sports: "You have to provide your own equipment … then it costs $500 to play in league." That equipment can cost well over a $1000 if you want to be outfitted like the pros, even if the pros are not even playing.

Despite these obstacles, Kevin is far from giving up on the sport he’s passionate about. He has substituted the SPU hockey club for the Greater Seattle Hockey League (GSHL).

While he enjoys playing in the GSHL, Kevin and his fellow former teammates would like to see the hockey club return. "We want this team to come back, and if there’s anyone who wants to play, contact (me)."

The SPU hockey club has some major advantages over other leagues, especially for beginners who are thinking about get their feet wet (or frozen). "It’s not really a super competitive league, we play to win, but we don’t beat each other up," Kevin said. The competition level is kept in check by certain rules that are enforced in order to prevent injuries. "The league is a ‘no check’ league, so if you’re worried about contact, it’s not really an issue at all." While Kevin’s reassuring words sound good, he is quick to describe his own role as a defensive player: "I’m usually one of the biggest guys on the team, so I’m kind of an enforcer," Kevin said smiling. "I make sure no one on the other team feels too comfortable back there."

The balance of safety and the obvious need for at least a little bit of contact (hey, it’s hockey) makes for a good balance for Kevin and his teammates, and the fact that it tends to be more of an underground sport in the northwest adds to their closeness as a team. "Hockey players have real good camaraderie in the locker room," says Kevin.

If you would like more information on the SPU hockey club, contact Kevin at saxman@spu.edu.

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Title: SPU Sports Pulse | Author: Dylan Romero | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2005-01-26 | Internal ID: 4304