The St. Ambrose club hockey team will be looking for some vocal support when it takes the ice at 12:20 p.m. Saturday Feb. 23 at the i wireless Center in Moline, Ill., against a team from Loras College.
Luke Gosewisch, the sophomore who spent all of last year working to get the hockey team established, said he isn't expecting an arena packed with blue and white for the Quad Cities men's recreational league game.
"Just enough people to make some noise," he said.
Gosewisch and this first-year SAU crew are breaking the ice on what they hope will become a popular addition to the extracurricular menu at St. Ambrose.
Like a lot of students from the Chicago area, Gosewisch grew up on skates. He encountered teams from the Quad Cities while playing junior hockey and was a little surprised to find out there wasn't an SAU hockey team on his first visit to campus. As a freshman, he set out to change that.
"It took me almost all of my freshman year to get it recognized, to find members and an adviser," he said. "Attending meetings. Filling out the constitution. We got the team recognized with about a week left in school."
Faculty adviser Larry Skillin, PhD, an assistant professor of history, played youth hockey in Pennsylvania and said a small but determined first-year roster of players is building a foundation the school can use to attract students it might not have drawn here in the past.
"This team represents a great opportunity for these athletes to remain connected to a sport that is close to their hearts," he said.
The SAU team has played in two divisions of the rec league at the i wireless Center this year. They hope to join the American Collegiate Hockey Association next year, which would give them the opportunity to play club teams from nearby schools such as Augustana, Western Illinois, Iowa, Illinois and Illinois State.
Gosewisch has done some recruiting of his own and expects this year's roster of 15 to expand next fall.
"We feel like we have a strong base to build on," he said.