Collegiate ice hockey, a fixture at the University of Arizona for more than three decades, is getting a new look and new name. The students of the UA's club ice hockey team are partnering with UA Campus Recreation to expand their program and align with other University club sports.
Starting this fall, Arizona Wildcat Ice Hockey will have an aggressive schedule, a new name, a new brand identity, new uniforms, a new website (hockey.arizona.edu) and the full support of the UA as a club sport.
Frank Farias, UA associate vice president for Student Affairs, has been working on reorganizing the UA's Campus Recreation program and facilities, including how all club sports are managed. The ice hockey program operated differently than other UA club sports. UA students actually were playing for a privately incorporated entity.
Farias added that "the transition will ensure our ice hockey program is managed by students and is consistent with and functions like all other UA club sports."
As a UA student-run club, members choose and manage their own organizational structure, administer their own budget, assist in fundraising, elect their own club officers and select coaches and support staff.
Brian Slugocki, captain of the Arizona hockey team, said "With the University's involvement, there are many new and exciting opportunities now available to the team such as developing our webpage, promoting the sport on campus and throughout the community and also using the Arizona ‘A.'"
"And the majority of the team's excitement is due to the fact that we all feel we are now part of the University and representing the University of Arizona. Next year will be a great a season. We have all the pieces we need to be successful and we look forward to representing the UA and Tucson at the TCC Friday and Saturday nights."
David Dougall, a UA alumnus and former assistant hockey coach at UA, will help with the transition of the Arizona Hockey team to a recognized UA club. He is also assisting in the nationwide search for a head coach, which is already in progress.
Student Affairs marketing director Nick Adamakis said that as a recognized club sport, Arizona Hockey will be able to take advantage of the same branding opportunities as other club sports, such as fundraising and trademark usage.
The Arizona Wildcats hockey club will play about 30 matches this upcoming season, including home games at the Tucson Convention Center, in downtown Tucson.
The IceCats, LLC has operated outside the UA as an independent corporation and was founded, operated and coached by Leo Golembiewski since 1979, who created a local sensation by bringing ice hockey to the desert.
The IceCats enjoyed many successful seasons under Golembiewski, and the UA appreciates and recognizes Golembiewski's continued commitment in helping transition into a new era of Arizona Hockey.
The new Arizona ice hockey club will be on par with the other 30 UA club sports, such as rugby, lacrosse, triathlon and wheelchair basketball. For complete list of UA club sports, visit: http://campusrec.arizona.edu/activities/sport_clubs/club_list.php.