Mesa State hockey team struggling to make up for lack of ice time
The 2010-11 college hockey season had promised to be a challenging one for Mesa State College’s club team.
The Mavericks lost their home ice arena when Glacier Ice Arena closed five months ago because of a breakdown in the refrigeration system.
“We’re just practicing wherever we play,” Mesa coach Kameron Dudek said. “If we play Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we practice Thursday night.”
Although the Mavericks are limited on ice time, Dudek is trying to make up for it in other ways.
“We increase face time with the boys,” he said. “We have a lot more chalk talks. We walk through positioning on the basketball courts, how to defend and attack the opponent.
“The bottom line is, nothing replaces being on the ice.”
Although Mesa State has six more players on its roster this season than last, the lack of ice time is hurting the club.
The Mavericks have six fewer games this season and lost their first seven games in the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division III North Central League.
“We still have individual talent, but you have to get five people to play as a team instead of five individual players,” Dudek said.
Mesa State played one of its “home” games two weeks ago against Metro State at the Pepsi Center prior to the Colorado Avalanche’s game against the Minnesota Wild. It was the Mavs’ annual Alumni Night game.
Despite the challenges, Dudek said the players can learn a lot from this season’s experience.
“When we sat down at the beginning of season, we told them they can go one of two ways,” Dudek said. “If they want to face a challenge, we’re good. If not, maybe now is the time to walk away.
“They’ve had a great attitude. If we carry anything away from this season, we’ve learned something we’ll carry with us the rest of our life. It has nothing to do with the win-loss column.”