Alabama hockey continuing to make strides at club levelBy Johnathan Anderson | 02/19/2018 3:20am
Photo courtesy of the Alabama hockey club
They practice four days a week, traveling an hour and a half in total for each workout and game. This commitment that the University of Alabama Men’s Ice Hockey team makes on a daily basis is what, according to senior Forward Thomas Godfrey, separates them from any other club sport on campus.
The University of Alabama does not currently have a facility of its own to house the team, which forces the group to travel to Pelham, Alabama for all practices and home contests. The team has built quite the long-standing relationship with the city of Pelham since the club’s founding in 2005. Located 56 miles from campus, the Pelham Civic Center is the home of Alabama Hockey.
The team competes at the ACHA Division 1 level, the highest level of ACHA college hockey, and is one of only two SEC schools to have a program competing at this level of competition. The seriousness of this program is what allows the Tide to attract quality talent from across the nation despite not being an NCAA sanctioned sport, freshman Goaltender Garret Kingsbury said. Kingsbury was surprised upon his arrival by the organization of the team despite it being primarily run by students.
“We’re pulling guys from NCAA schools that still want to play Division I hockey,” said Kingsbury.
This team has made big strides in the growth of their program since its sanctioning by the University and has grown rapidly in its prominence on campus as well as in the community during its tenure.
The guys pride themselves on their togetherness both on and off the ice. A family that spends a majority of its time outside of the classroom either on the ice, traveling or hanging out after classes, the bonds made between the lads is what truly makes this experience memorable for each guy.
"It’s just been awesome having a group of guys you can go to on campus [and] play the sport we love together,” Kingsbury said.
Hockey has been the primary influence for many of these guys coming to Tuscaloosa in the first place, and it is this passion that drives the club to reach the heights it has thus far.
"Talent-wise, we’ve gotten a lot better,” Godfrey said, “We’re starting to have teams contact us asking us to come play.”
This kind of recognition is key for a team on the rise and gives the program a bit of notability that allows them to continue bringing in quality talent.
But it’s not all about acquiring talent for this team. It’s what you do with the talent that makes the difference. Alabama is closing in on the end of their regular season and will be looking to extend their terrific home form in a two-game series against Indiana before the team packs its bags for Columbus, Ohio and the 2018 National Championship Tournament.