Sports Perspective: Wildcat hockey brings new energy to Tucson - The Explorer: Sports

Sports Perspective: Wildcat hockey brings new energy to Tucson

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Evan Hofmann

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 3:30 am

midst the infectious excitement that engulfs Tucson throughout Arizona football and basketball seasons, it is easy to forget about Wildcast Hockey. The sport is not in our desert dwelling culture. Most of us did not grow up in the snow, do not understand the low scoring games, and do not identify with the hockey player ethos. The Arizona Wildcat hockey team, however, is happy to show us why our way of thinking is wrong. 

Though the hockey program was founded in 1979 under the moniker “The Icecats”, the University did not officially recognize the team until 2011. Now, with new direction and leadership, the hockey team is permitted to wear the Arizona “A” on their jerseys as official members of the Arizona athletic family. 

The Wildcats play their home games at the TCC on Fridays and Saturday nights. Though the arena seats a little over 6,000 people and is considered dated in comparison to other college hockey venues, the fans that attend the games are as lively and deafening as the team needs them to be. The vivacious, sometimes rowdy group of attendees have earned the nickname “The Madhouse of Mainstreet” for the TCC, which is fitting due to the fact that Arizona hockey games are the only campus affiliated events that serve alcohol. 

The die-hard fan base is not the only thing that makes the hockey program special, the Wildcat team is also a hard working, and enormously talented group of players led by senior forwards Andrew Murmes and Ansel Ivers-Anderson. This season, under head coach Sean Hogan, the Cats have climbed as high as 11th on the national rankings, which is their highest ranking in seven years. The squad has also tallied up some exciting wins, the most notable being a sweep of 3rd ranked Oklahoma. 

Despite the upsides of a high ranking and possibly the biggest upset in program history, it has not all been smooth skating for Arizona. The Wildcat squad has been battling adversity all season.  The team has endured sicknesses, four-week road trips, scheduling conflicts with the TCC that force them to travel to Chandler for practices, and worst yet, a 34-game losing streak to rival ASU. That was no typo, 34 straight losses to the Sun Devils. Much to the dismay of the players, coaches, and the community, Arizona has not beaten Arizona State in a hockey game since February of 2009. One of the top teams in the west this season, the Sun Devils dismantled the Wildcats by a score of 11-1 in their last two meetings. 

ASU losses aside, the Arizona hockey club is on the upswing given their recently revamped look and direction. True, the team does not share the rich and successful history of basketball and football, but the boisterous energy of Wildcat hockey is worth the trip to the “Madhouse”. The team is carving a new identity into the ice, one that has claimed a sense of belonging among more prominent and recognizable U of A sports, and will hopefully instill the same long lasting legacy that Arizona has grown accustomed to after generations of accomplishments.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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