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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Practice at premium for Icecats

    Arizona Icecats goalie Nick Boddy pokes the puck away from an Oklahoma attacker during a 5-4 Sooners win in the Tucson Convention Center Nov. 11, 2006. The Icecats havent had much practice time on an ice rink in the past few weeks due to scheduling conflicts at the TCC.
    Arizona Icecats goalie Nick Boddy pokes the puck away from an Oklahoma attacker during a 5-4 Sooners win in the Tucson Convention Center Nov. 11, 2006. The Icecats haven’t had much practice time on an ice rink in the past few weeks due to scheduling conflicts at the TCC.

    The sounds of the Zamboni echo around the Tucson Convention Center as the vehicle makes its final laps around the rink, and the Arizona Icecats exit the locker room, ready to take the ice.

    From their apparent eagerness, it looks as if the Icecats are preparing for a game – but there are no shouting fans, no one selling lemonade and no opponent in sight.

    All that exists are the 6,500 empty blue seats in the TCC, and the voice of head coach Leo Golembiewski yelling at his players to stay disciplined during drills.

    After the conclusion of the first few games, most teams dread the repetitiveness that comes with practices. But the men’s club hockey players are grateful to be able to practice at all.

    In the weeks leading up to their first games, the Icecats had about two weeks to prepare for the opening games. Golembiewski said he prefers a minimum of four weeks to prepare his team for the season.

    “”It makes us hungrier for practice,”” said sophomore forward Jordan Schupan. “”It makes us take full advantage of the ice time that we do get.””

    The lack of practice time is due to the TCC being a multi-purpose facility: if there is a concert or event in the TCC, the Icecats are out of luck. This past weekend the arena was set up for “”Disney’s High School Musical: The Ice Tour.””

    The Icecats used to practice at “”The Ice Rink,”” the only other ice rink in Tucson; but the rink’s new owners closed it in April 2007, as Tucson interest in ice skating waned.

    The lack of practice time showed in the Icecats’ season-opening tournament, the American Collegiate Hockey Association National

    Showcase in West Chester, Penn., Oct. 10-12. Arizona finished the weekend 0-3 after going a week without practice.

    “”In our first couple games we kind of slowed down in the third period,”” Schupan said of Arizona being outscored 7-2 in the final periods of its first three games.

    In the mean time, Golembiewski said he suggests his players run wind sprints in order to keep in shape during the time that ice is not available.

    “”It’s a game of skills and stamina,”” Golembiewski said. “”You can run the treadmill or run sprints, but there is no substitute for skating.””

    Despite the lack of practice time, the team keeps hope that it can still have a successful season, similar to last year, when the team went 11-1 in the second half of the season with similar practice circumstances.

    “”It’s just a challenge we have to overcome,”” Shupan said.

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