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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


TCC construction affecting Arizona hockey’s practice time

Amy Webb/Arizona Daily Wildcat Brian Slugocki, No. 7, and the Arizona Hockey team play Wisconsin on Jan. 22, 2012.

Construction is nothing new to the UA, but now it’s starting to affect the hockey team.

The Wildcats, who were originally scheduled to start practicing Sept. 10, will now have to start Sept. 17, just four days before their Sept. 21 opener at NAU. The delay is due to the Tucson Convention Center’s, where Arizona plays its home games, replacing old lower bowl seats.

“It’s not an ideal situation, that’s for sure,” head coach Sean Hogan said. “But I understand putting new seats in there will be better for our organization. But one week preparation to start a season makes it tough, but it’s definitely doable.”

Hogan said the Wildcats have been weight training and shuttle testing. They will practice five times before the first game.

“I think it will be alright. Some of us went up to Scottsdale and skated this weekend and we’ve been working really hard,” senior forward Brian Slugocki said. “We have five practices before our first game, so it’s definitely no excuse. And we’ll be definitely ready to play when Friday night comes.”

Senior goalie David Herman is more worried about the team chemistry with a lack of practice time.

“Definitely not getting on the ice hurts a little bit,” Herman said. ”But we’re doing two-a-day sessions in the gym, plus we’re doing our off ice workouts on the fields over at Rincon. You’re doing the same stuff that you would be doing on the ice, but it definitely hurts chemistry.”

Most of the other teams started practicing last week and some played exhibition games last weekend, Hogan said.

“They’ll be on the ice a good, two, two and a half weeks before we get on the ice,” Hogan said.

A problem the Wildcats have run into is that there aren’t any rinks in town, other than the TCC, which also hosts events like pro-wrestling, the circus and BMX. The Tucson ice skating rink where the Wildcats used to practice closed in 2007.

Of their opponents, Hogan said he thinks NAU has a rink on campus, ASU has nearby Oceanside Ice Arena where the team can skate every day and Illinois, Liberty and Ohio all have rinks on campus.

“Our situation’s a little different. We have a great facility in terms of game day atmosphere, things like that, and I wouldn’t change that for the world,” Hogan said. “It just makes our practice situation difficult sometimes.”

Hogan says he has heard that Tucson, with about a million people living in its metro area, is the biggest city without a rink. He said there are 16 ice sheets in Phoenix alone.

“I think we can support one,” Hogan said, laughing.

Hogan expects the process of getting a rink in Tucson will start soon, and if the Wildcats are successful this season, it will help the cause.

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