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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Hockey makes changes for success after disastrous season

Photo Courtsey of Camille Majeres
Defenseman Nick Grabner shoots the puck during the alumni game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, at Ice and Field at the Crossover in Cedar Park, Texas.

Off the ice, the Texas State Hockey team has been working to ensure fans, players and coaches aren’t disappointed in the upcoming 2023 season. The club’s offseason has been full of large-scale changes such as a revamped roster, new jerseys and a new coaching staff.

Last season the team lost all 18 games in its division. Experiences with disorganization, adjustments to new club leaders and losing members to injury made it difficult for the team to stay motivated, according to team president and senior Ben Nehama.

“My projection on our success this year compared to last year is something that, last year, I didn’t think would be possible,” Nehama, a left wing center, said. “So with us thinking of getting our goal to the third place in the league come playoff time, it’s possible that we place even higher. The success of our performance on and off the ice has just been so tremendous.”

After the team’s previous coach resigned during winter break last season, a player’s dad stepped in the interim role for the rest of the season leaving the players to coach themselves. Barry Cummins, the new head coach of Texas State Hockey, joined the organization at the end of March and began recruiting for the team in April.

As a previous coach for the San Antonio Junior Rampage high school team, Cummins has been able to convince several players to come and play for the maroon and gold. So far, the roster this season can expect to have 12 new faces, which is almost as much as last season’s full roster of 13 players.

“When you have surplus 25-26 guys… it creates a lot more competition on and off the ice,” Nehama said. “It pushes these players to give 100 percent…it creates that motivation to want to stay on the ice. So last year, we didn’t have that and it led to less than superb performance, but now with this [new roster], I am guaranteeing that you will not have anything less than superb on the ice.”

The roster isn’t the limit as to how far this team has gone to ensure a successful season. Cummins places heavy emphasis on the player’s mindset and is working to change the overall stigma that has surrounded the team over the years. Through strong words of encouragement and team bonding, Cummins hopes to foster a team that will grow into something that all of Texas State can be proud of.

“I think the mindset for the player says, it’s just so important,” Cummins said. “I mean we represent Texas State University, and there’s got to be some pride in that. And I think that has gotten lost in past years. And it’s not always easy to take pride when you’re losing, and so we can bring a winning tradition to the hockey team and build that over time.”

Some players have already gotten a taste of what’s in store this season over the summer after some members of the team continued to play for enjoyment on a men’s league team. Other college players, Texas State freshmen and even high schoolers all drew their attention to the ice and to the Texas State Hockey team.

A player fortunate to have already played with Texas State Hockey before team tryouts is Evan Smith, a business freshman. Smith has been driving down from Dallas over the weekends to play on the ice with some players on the team at the Ice and Golf Center at Northwoods in San Antonio.

Smith is a bit nervous to be playing at the college level. Texas State Hockey is a Division 2 American Collegiate Hockey Association Hockey Club sanctioned in the Texas Collegiate Hockey Conference. Even so, Smith says he is already pumped and motivated by the other players who are driven by new changes and the goal to win.

“Definitely a lot of good players and it’s definitely gonna be a hard job making the team this year, but I’m super excited,” Smith said.

Tryouts for Texas State Hockey will occur on Aug. 26 at the Ice and Golf Center at Northwoods in San Antonio. Texas State Hockey’s first home game will be against the University of Texas at 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Ice and Field at the Crossover in Cedar Park, Texas.

To learn more about Texas State Hockey, visit www.txstatehockey.com

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