Bright future in store for UVU hockey

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It had been nearly a decade since Wolverine green was seen on the ice. Now nearing the end of its first season back, the future is bright for UVU hockey.

A year of dialogue between the UVU administration and hopeful students looking to revive the hockey program finally paid off last summer. The process started with a clean slate and an open skate where 36 potential players showed up. Then, last fall, an open tryout was held to assemble the new roster. One player had previous experience at the college level.

Head coach Patrick Perrett admits the team got off to a late start assembling the roster and building a schedule. Despite the frenzied effort to field a team, UVU has been competitive thus far this season, having lost five games in the final minute. The Wolverines have three wins on the year and are still fighting for another two in order to meet Perrett’s goal of five wins in the first year back.

Perrett says it’s all part of a five-year process to build the hockey program after an eight-year hiatus. He hoped to put a competitive team together this season that is proud to wear the mascot on their chests and play with unity.

The next step in the development of the club is more student involvement to help with the workload of the team and coaching staff. As word spreads about the UVU hockey team, Perret envisions big things in the near future.

“You build some synergy like that and hopefully some students will latch on,” said Perrett. “It’ll come … hockey is an exciting sport to watch. Once everybody knows we’re here, this place will be jumping.”

There are more scholarships currently given to women’s sports at UVU than men’s, which raises the question whether an additional men’s team will be promoted from the club ranks. Adam Sanft, UVU’s associate athletic director of compliance, said the athletic department is not presently seeking to add another men’s team but is always looking for opportunities to improve and grow.

Hockey is certainly an enticing option for the university to consider bumping to the NCAA level. Arizona and Colorado are the first examples of the spread of Division l hockey to schools in western states. Perrett sees the University of Utah making the jump and believes UVU would be a perfect fit as well.

The UCCU Events Center does not currently have the piping necessary to accommodate an ice rink permanently, said Mark Hildebrand, director of the event’s center. He said a temporary system could be brought in but at this time it is not worth the financial investment. If the hockey club continues to grow, the university may reconsider.

“Down the road, if you had community involvement, this would be an awesome place for an NCAA Division l team,” Perrett said. “UVU has all the components to really make an awesome program.”