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Bakersfield welcomes new hockey club

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Bakersfield welcomes new hockey club

Rylee Smith

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Every Tuesday and Friday morning and every Wednesday night, CSU Bakersfield newest sports club fills the Ice Sports Center downtown with the dull crashes of pucks hitting the ice and boards. Their shots on goal and quick skating are only interrupted by Coach Bob St. Louis, as he shouts “Switch sides!”

Though Bakersfield has the Condors, the Kern County Hockey Club, and recreational leagues for hockey enthusiasts, this is the first year that Bakersfield will have its own college club.

Coach Bob St. Louis decided to put together a club team through the university when he saw that aspiring players had to choose between going away to more costly schools out of town or giving up hockey altogether. Some players could not afford to go away to other schools, despite wanting to continue with the sport.

“When hockey stops at age 17 or 18, they don’t know what to do with themselves,” says St. Louis. “They’re kinda lost. I’ve watched some of the kids that I’ve coached go downhill.”

With his own son, now 21 years old, facing the question of how to play hockey while staying in town, St. Louis decided to take his experience coaching hockey in Bakersfield and build a team.

Along with that motivation, St. Louis also felt that the Bakersfield community was ready for a college team.

“There are a lot more hockey people in Bakersfield than you think,” he says.

In the team’s first three home games, the community has shown an interest.

The first game of the season, in which the team lost to Fresno State 9-5, around 800 fans were in attendance.

The second home game, which CSUB won 9-7 over the University of Southern Califronia had 500 in attendance.The third game, a 8-5 win over Cal Lutheran, was not as well advertised and only had 200 in attendance.

According to the Bakersfield Californian, Rabobank Arena gave the team a good deal on ice time, so the team will need 250 people at a game to make up for the cost of that game.

“The Rabobank faculty has “bent over backwards” to help the team,” St. Louis says. “Opening the concessions stands and VIP booths for fans.”

Rabobank is not the only local business working with the team. Goose Loonies Tavern and Grill provides dinner for the team before their games. KERO’s Scott Sheahan acts as the team’s announcer at games.

To pay for ice time and supplies, the team relies on donations and payments from players. The team, made of 17 skaters and two goalies as well as their two coaches, must raise the money to keep their team going. Since it is a club team through the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership and not the athletic department, the team does not receive funding from the university.

So far, CSUB has two wins and four losses. One of the teams they beat was USC, which St. Louis shared with a smile. Along with the regular season, they are competing with Fresno State in a seven game series called the Highway 99 Series. With each game, the team hopes to learn something and improve.

“We’re getting better everyday,” says player Enrique Galvan. “We learn from our mistakes from the previous week. Hard work, dedication, discipline. It’s pretty straight-forward.”

That hard work extends beyond the ice. To be a part of the team, players have to be CSUB students. Majewski, who is returning to finish his last year of college after taking a 20 year break from pursuing his degree, says that some of his teammates are motivated to attend college for the chance to play hockey.

“Other than playing in beer leagues, competitive hockey would be done [for players after high school]. Some players are going to school just to play hockey, who wouldn’t have gone otherwise. They’re getting higher education and a higher level of hockey,” said Majewski.

The Roadrunners will have their last home game on Sunday, Dec 9 at 2 p.m.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Bakersfield welcomes new hockey club”

  1. CP on December 18th, 2018 5:42 pm

    Absolutely love that the club is operating! Great for student life/community exposure. Only a plus for prospective students checking out student life. I’d only ask that they strongly consider adding a Twitter account to keep the interested public up to date on info. They DO have an Instagram account, but it is updated only sporadically. My family can’t wait to catch a few more of our Alma Mater’s games next season.

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Bakersfield welcomes new hockey club