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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Icecats recall ’05 brawl

JACOB KONST/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Icecats vs. Weber state, 2-1 W at TCC
Jacob Konst
JACOB KONST/Arizona Daily Wildcat Icecats vs. Weber state, 2-1 W at TCC

In recent years, the Arizona Icecats (5-8) haven’t been known for their bruising hits and fighting tactics, but four years ago today, the Icecats landed enough punches to last a couple of seasons and then some.

It was a Saturday night in 2005 at the Tucson Convention Center and the Icecats were taking on one of their biggest rivals at the time, Weber State University. Both teams were American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I powerhouses and the games were always physical.

But that Saturday, the Icecats took the term ‘physical’ to an entirely new level. While most fights occur during the actual game, Weber State waited until after the game to get the party started.

After the Icecats’ one-goal victory, Weber State’s bruiser began seeking out potential prey during the handshakes. Initially he didn’t find many takers, but all of the sudden there were players scrapping all across the ice.

“”Some trash talking started in the line and it immediately turned into a fight,”” said graduate assistant and former Icecat goaltender Nick Boddy, “”With everyone being out on the ice, it was pretty much chaos with people tying up with each other.””

As soon as the first punch was thrown, all hell broke loose. Players were going at it on the ice, on the bench and even in the penalty box.

“”It was pretty much mayhem out there on the ice,”” said former Icecat Robbie Nowinski, who was involved in a tussle on the bench. “”Somehow we ended up on the visiting team’s bench and I had him down on the ground for a while. It was pretty crazy.””

With thousands of fans still in the Tucson Convention Center stands, the electricity in the building picked up immediately. “”The crowd went crazy, of course.”” Nowinski said. “”They loved it.””

Before ASU emerged as a respectable division I club hockey program, all of the buzz on Fridays and Saturdays at the Tucson Convention Center would surface when Utah’s Weber State came to town.

“”We’ve had some rather vehement disagreements with them over the years,”” said Icecats head coach Leo Golembiewski. “”We have a great history with them,””

“”They were a huge rival for us,”” Nowinski added. “”My last two years they had some problems with their program, but my first two years those were huge games for us.””

Weber State was forced to move to Division II in the last couple of years, virtually ending the rivalry. Both programs graduated more and more players since the fight, and ever since, that same spark hasn’t exactly been there between these two teams.

“”I think throughout the years, the rivalry has kind of died,”” Boddy said.

But the Icecats will look to re-generate some of that old excitement this weekend when Weber State (7-7) makes an always-memorable return the Tucson Convention Center for a two-game, weekend series.

Five years and two completely new teams later, these squads will play the first of their four annual games tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

The rivalry is no longer, and another chaotic fight after the game is probably not on the agenda for this weekend. But with two teams that meet up four times a season and have a well-documented history, there is no reason that the rivalry cannot be revived.

“”I don’t want to start anything that isn’t quite there at the moment, but maybe we could recreate the rivalry,”” said senior defenseman Austin Capobianco. “”We won’t know until we can tell their exact style of play.””

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