C2C Program Article
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All Roads Lead to Roller
Theres a saying around the hockey community that all roads lead to mens league. Its a way to keep everyone humble. After spending a few years as a player, being involved with NCRHA Coast 2 Coast and even half a season as a coach, Im convinced theres a better saying out there and it has nothing to do with keeping people humble. All roads lead to roller. Heres a quick story. My sophomore year of college I was walking down the busiest part of our campus, where bike lanes and walkways converge into chaos. There was a kid riding his longboard wearing a Revision Hockey shirt and he was skating right into the path I was about to walk through. I had never seen this kid so I decided to try to stop him. Yo! Dude! You play roller hockey? Right as he was passing me, he stopped abruptly and hopped off of his board. Wait, what?! How did you know? Do you play? I told him the shirt kind of gave it away. After talking to him for a minute or two, I found out that the kid wearing a roller hockey companys shirt didnt even know our school had a roller hockey team. He ended up trying out and the rest is history. There are over 1500 student athletes that are part of 100 or so college roller hockey programs across the country. I figured there were more stories to tell that were a heck of a bit more interesting than mine. Heres a few of the ones we were able to hunt down.
All Roads Lead to Roller
Wes Fry had never played organized roller hockey before. His best friend and Phoenix Jr. Coyotes ice hockey teammate Stetson Dircks had grown up playing both sports but focused solely on ice after middle school. In the fall of 2014, Stetson decided he would give roller another shot at Arizona State University which meant Wes would be giving it his first shot. Around the same time, Lyndsey Fry was back at Harvard University for her senior year, a few months removed from her experience with Team USA at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. The following spring, Wes Fry and his ASU teammates embarked on their trip to Missouri for last years 2015 NCRHA National Championships. Lyndsey Fry was getting ready to graduate from Harvard. A few weeks removed from leading her Crimson team all the way to the final game at the DI NCAA Womens National Championships, and a much-needed surgery, she hobbled onto a plane with her parents to surprise her brother at his tournament and cheer him on, just as he had done in Sochi and in her years at Harvard. As the puck dropped on the Sun Devils first game, the Fry family started cheering in the stands. Wes looked up to see it was his family who was cheering. His sister had orchestrated the whole thing. Throughout the week in Missouri, Lyndsey got to know the guys on her brothers team. They would joke, so are you playing next season or what? From the stands, Fry watched her brother and his team intently. I can definitely play with these guys, she thought to herself. Wes was always my biggest fan and my rock, and (after that week in Missouri) I knew I wanted to fully dive into this. So she did, spending the weeks that followed the tournament looking into the classes she would take, the rehab necessary to get back to full strength after her injury, and eventually getting onto the tile at the end of the summer. After trying out for the team and a few months of practices, Lyndsey Fry suited up alongside her brother Wes for her first collegiate roller hockey game last October. Shes appreciated the support her teammates have given her along the way. Its been humbling, she said, explaining that roller hockeys nuances gave her a challenge that helped her stay driven to get better. The Fry family has been in the stands supporting Lyndsey, Wes and the rest of the ASU team at every single game this season. One year after Lyndsey Fry hobbled into the stands on crutches to watch her brother Wes play at the NCRHA National Championships, theyll both get to make a run for a title. Together. Its going to be just another great experience. I wouldnt want to do it with any other team.
All Roads Lead to Roller
Mia Becker walked into her Materials Science Engineering class this past fall, her first semester at the University of Tennessee. After spending two years attending Boston University and stopping pucks for their NCAA Division I team, the Virginia native decided she wanted a change of scenery, and would leave hockey behind to focus on another passion and her future career, engineering. Just because she was done playing didnt mean she couldnt throw all of her stuff for class in a Shattuck St. Marys backpack from her years of prep school hockey in Minnesota. Austin Gomez knows the game hockey well enough to know that Shattuck St. Marys is arguably the best prep school for hockey in the United States. He also loves playing roller hockey, representing his school and the challenge of trying to field a team that can make a run for a national title. Anytime Im talking to someone at school and they have an interest in hockey, I try to get them to come out and play, just to have fun and stuff, he told me. So naturally, when he spotted a girl in his Materials Science Engineering class with an SSM Hockey backpack, he wasnt going to pass up a chance to try to add a talented player to the Tennessee Volunteers Roller Hockey team. I just went up and started talking to her about hockey and told her about the team. She was really hesitant, but somehow I convinced her to come out and practice with us just one time to see if she would like it, Gomez said, recalling what seemed like a shot in the dark at the time. When Mia Becker came out to practice for the first time, she wasnt sure what to expect. Playing well enough to impress a team that would benefit from having another goalie, especially a talented one, along with hitting it off with Gomez and the rest of the team was enough to keep her interested. All of the guys were great and I had fun, so I decided to keep skating with them, she said. After suiting up at practice with the team through the end of the fall semester, she played her first games this Spring. With a goalie wearing white and red BU pads between the pipes, the Volunteers went on to win the SECRHL Division II title and are hoping to make a deep run at Nationals. Beckers excited about the opportunity to compete for a title, but ready to have some fun playing in front of her family with her new team and friends in front of her. Gomez, when asked about college roller hockey, concluded, the friendships formed are strong, and theyre bonded by the love of the sport. Even people that youve just met... theyre instantly friends, mentioning that he cant wait to see the guys he became friends with at last years Nationals. As for Becker, shes banking on a four legged member of the squad to help her and the rest of the Volunteers make some new friends. Oh, Levi? Hes basically our mascot, youll meet him at Nattys.
All Roads Lead to Roller
Tommy Potts moved into his Bethel University dorm in the fall of 2014 ready to begin both freshman year and his collegiate baseball career. He had received a scholarship to play baseball for the Wildcats and jumped at the opportunity. The rest of the guys living on Tommys dorm floor were all members of the roller hockey team. After getting to know a bunch of the guys in the dorm, he quickly became friends with them. When they werent busy with hockey or classes, they were hanging out. Life on the diamond didnt seem to live up to the expectations that Potts had for his college experience, so he went to his baseball coach and asked if there was a way he would be able to keep his scholarship if he quit the team and stayed involved with another sport on campus. The coach told him he would see what he could do. The Chicago native figured if the scholarship situation worked out, he would try roller hockey. Keep in mind Tommy Potts had never played a single shift of hockey. Anywhere. Well, the scholarship situation worked out, and Potts was welcomed into the Bethel Roller Hockey program. Potts spent his freshman year serving as Bethels team manager, learning more about the sport, while practicing with the team and soaking in as much floor time as possible up until the school year ended. Fast forward to last fall -- Potts returned to Bethel to keep his dream alive. His scholarship was still intact. With the support of the entire program, Potts earned a roster spot and spent hours working towards becoming a player that deserved playing time. Cody Bryant, his friend and roommate, talked about how it all worked: His first semester was a little rough, but keep in mind this was all new to Tommy. We all took turns working with him to master the basics. After getting some playing time and improving during the fall, Potts was ready to show what he could do in the spring. He felt more comfortable on his skates and more confident on the floor in game situations. The hours of hard work put in by Potts and so many of his teammates had finally paid off when he scored his first goal. The guys have all accepted me and helped me to improve my game as much as possible, Potts stated, expressing his gratitude for his coaches and teammates. This isnt a one-time thing, said Bryant; Potts intends on continuing with the roller hockey program at Bethel as he pursues his degree. Not everyone can throw on blades and play college roller hockey, but Tommy did and still is. Theres no question hell keep working towards getting better so he can keep playing. So whats the craziest part of this whole journey for Tommy Potts? I can now say that I am a collegiate roller hockey player, he said, just a kid who was falling in love with the game for the first time, playing with his best friends.
All Roads Lead to Roller
All roads lead to College