Club sports spotlight: After two-year hiatus, club team wins title

By: Jared Shafran, News Staff

Cheering and excitement could be heard in the locker room of the Northeastern club roller hockey team March 7 after capping off their undefeated season with a championship in Feasterville, Pa.
The team successfully knocked off every competitor, the season culminating in a 10-4 victory over the University of Scranton in the Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (ECRHA) division 3 regional championship game March 7.

A blind eye might not have guessed the team had taken a two-year hiatus from the league and hadn’t played an organized tournament during the time off.

It was Ian Prescott, a junior English major, who ultimately made the decision to take control and try to get the team back off the ground after it fell apart a few years ago when former president Chip Palmer graduated.

“Although we had a lot of fun with it, after that year it just fell apart because we didn’t have anybody that got appointed to run the club,” said Prescott.

Ed Laura, another member left over from Chip’s team who is now a senior at Northeastern, recalled that the team owed money to their governing body, the Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (ECRHA).

“We were all going to have to come up with a few hundred bucks out of pocket if we even wanted to play the next year,” Laura said. “Looking at our record from the year before, player and goalie situation, and coaching situation, nobody was apt to go through all of the paperwork with the league directors, so we took a couple years off.”

The first step once the guys decided to bring the team back was getting Northeastern club sports to recognize their club again.

Prescott said he went to Steven Belowsky, the assistant director of club sports at Northeastern, to see what he would have to do to get funding.

“They were extremely skeptical,” said Prescott of the club sports office at NU. “They didn’t think this team was going to be able to get off the ground because of all the money we owed and they didn’t think the league would let us back. That was a hassle because we had to convince the school before we could convince the league that this was going to be a team worth putting back into order.”

Belowsky said any club sport, whether it is new or reinstated, needs to write up a proposal and send it to the club sports office. There it is reviewed and sent along to the staff at campus recreation and athletics.

New teams must satisfy four criteria: Appropriate student interest (minimum of 10 people), financial feasibility, a national governing body, and competition at the collegiate level.

“I was sending things out to random people on Facebook, I was scrounging people up any way I could,” Prescott said. “At one point during the summer I was at the rink twice a day just so I would see if people would come over and talk to me about playing roller hockey. That’s how we found one of the better guys on our team. He was just hanging out there one time.”

Once he had enough prospective players, Prescott sent a list with everyone’s name, phone number, e-mail address, and Northeastern ID number to the club sports office. He said that was what finally convinced the school to give them the team back.

“Usually, as long as we have a spot open and the proposal looks good, we can add a new team,” said Belowsky. “There is a cap at 40 teams due to university financial and facility issues and we’ve had 40 since I’ve been here which has been almost four years now.”

But just because the team wasn’t officially a club for those two years didn’t mean they stopped playing, or being friends for that matter.

“As far as us hanging out, we were unofficially a club for all five years that I’ve been here,” Laura said. “Everybody’s got each others number, and we all go play hockey all the time.”

Laura said the desire to finally get some competition really boiled up this summer when they realized the capability that a newly-formed team might have.

“We started looking at the new freshmen coming in and we thought we would be very competitive going in with a better mindset, a better structure offensively and defensively, and the talent that we still maintained from years before,” Laura said.

Once the old team was back together, no one was more excited to get back on the rink than Laura, he said.

“It’s definitely exciting, the last team we played on, we had no system and we had no coach,” he said. “We would drive down to Philadelphia and lose three games by 10 goals. Back then I was still excited because I was young and I didn’t know much. I was very skeptical in the beginning about whether we were going to get this team going, but Ian did a great job taking care of the managerial paperwork.”

Now, with a championship under their belt, Prescott said he feels the team is capable of keeping their play at a high level for years to come.

“My goal was that even though we didn’t have a team for two years, it wasn’t going to be a rebuilding period, I wanted to reload the team. This is a team that has a lot of skilled and talented players and can win. We want to keep this program alive and winning for many years.”