Thursday, March 22, 2018

Stockton’s Ice Hockey Team is on Thin Ice

By Michael Donne

Stockton University’s ice hockey team is on thin ice. With 25 games this season, and five practice days a week, this team mirrors professional commitment. However, players are frustrated with the team’s lack of funding.Stockton’s ice rink has been in Toms River for the past two years. This 45-minute drive is long compared to the short 22-minute drive of the previous Atlantic City location. On why Stockton changed rinks, Assistant Director of Athletics and Recreation Jeff Haines explained the ice time is earlier at Toms River compared to Atlantic City, which allows students to get home sooner.However, player Jake Mcdonald spoke about how earlier practices don’t make up for distance. He said: “We practice at AC. Practices don't start until 11:00. And even with the 15-minute drive, we’ll still be getting home at the same time. An earlier practice, but more gas. I don’t know what they were thinking.”Along with the new rink being twice as long of a drive, players are given no transportation to the game. Also, athletes are not given parking passes, leaving players to walk from Lot Eight to the housing during late hours. These problems scared away many potential ice hockey players. Freshmen athlete Braden Howcroft explained: “There are so many hockey players in this school, it's crazy, and they just don’t play.” As a result, Stockton’s hockey team consists of only 18 players, 13 of them being freshmen.Away game transportation is also inconvenient, as students often rely on three small vans to get to games. Jake Mcdonald commented on how Stockton does little to help this issue and said: “Again, we’re taking vans and I see shuttles sitting in Lot Nine. That makes no sense.”However, according to Assistant Director of Athletics and Recreation Jeff Haines, the solutions to these problems aren’t “black and white.” For Stockton to consider their hockey team a division III sport, Title IX would require another women's’ sport as well. With ice hockey being one of the most expensive sports, being able to comply with Title IX wouldn’t be feasible for Stockton. Jeff Haines believes there are solutions to the lack of funding, and it comes back to the athletes. He stated: “The ice hockey team hasn't done as much fundraising as some of the other clubs.” While fundraising would not fix the problem entirely, it's the first step the team can make for better opportunities.

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