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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Decision made

After more than a week of deliberation, it’s finally official — a new era of Arizona club hockey will hit the Tucson Convention Center ice next season.   

It was announced via press release on Monday afternoon that the team formerly known as the Icecats will partner with UA Campus Recreation to become a traditional club team now known as Arizona Wildcat Ice Hockey.

“”It feels good,”” said team president and forward Brian Slugocki. “”Everyone knows the work we’ve been putting in. It’s kind of hard to put in words.””

“”We’re all really excited about next year,”” added forward Brady Lefferts. “”I can’t wait to get back on the ice.””

Former head coach Leo Golembiewski founded the Icecats in 1979 as an independent corporation with zero affiliation to the UA. But both the players and the UA felt it was time for the team to have more affiliation with the university.

“”Before, we just didn’t really feel like we were that much of a part of the university,”” Slugocki said. “”(The university) wants to help us out. They’re willing to do whatever we need to make us a successful hockey team. And how can you say no to that?””

Slugocki, Lefferts and a few other players approached Campus Recreation and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Frank Farias just over two months ago about the change, but Lefferts said the university had been looking into this transition for “”a little over a year.””

Now that it’s official, Golembiewski’s 32-year reign as head coach is over, and Arizona Wildcat Ice Hockey has a new look. The Wildcats will sport new uniforms that can include the Arizona’s block “”A.”” The Wildcats will also have more funding to schedule road trips and bring in more competitive teams.

Slugocki said they have a chance to “”go to nationals every year now.””

The team still has to go out and find corporate sponsors, but Lefferts said funding “”won’t be an issue.”” Slugocki also added that he’s “”95 percent sure”” the convention center will still be permitted to sell beer at games.

The Wildcats will move on from Golembiewski, who fell out of favor toward the end of his coaching career. Both Lefferts and Slugocki said they were thankful for their time with Golembiewski, but they’re ready to turn to a new chapter.

“”We appreciate everything that he’s done for this program,”” Lefferts said. “”We’re all just excited to see where it progresses.””

According to Slugocki, they are interviewing a wide range of coaches and should reach their final decision in the next two weeks.

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