After starting the season 8-6, Slippery Rock University men’s club ice hockey team will travel Florida this weekend to take on Florida Gulf Coast University on Friday and Saturday, with both games starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Rock, unfortunately, will not be able to take their entire team on the road trip because of player’s class schedules and prior commitments, senior forward Greg Miller said. With this being the first long road trip of the season, The Pride hopes to come together as a team and develop more team chemistry, including getting the younger guys some playing time Miller added.
“We just want to get some ice time to enjoy and go down to Florida and do some team bonding,” Miller said. “We just want to do something special with the boys. I think everybody is excited about it; I know I am.”
The team’s General Manager Luke Holland mentioned how the program is growing because how the team has been able to go on road trips and put SRU on the map, which is something in years past they haven’t been able to do, along with the help of social media he said.
“When coach Grimm and the assistant coaches were here they could only play close road games,” Holland said. “They couldn’t afford buses, hotels, and food on the road but, we’ve gotten to a point that we have a good budget that we can go on these trips and expand our brand.”
To start the season, The Rock changed things up by getting a new head coach in Dave Grimm. Grimm served as one of the team’s assistant coaches last season and is also an alumni of SRU who graduated in 2007 with a degree in exercise science. The Pittsburgh native played hockey for The Rock during his time as a student and also served four years of active duty as an Officer for the U.S. Army.
“Where he (Grim) sees it now is it’s a growing organization and he wants to be a part of it,” Miller said. “I think it’s a good thing. I think the guys are really appreciative of him; he does a lot and going forward I think it is going to be best for the organization.”
The Pride started the season back in early Sept. with a pair of lopsided victories against the University of Akron, followed by four straight losses to Kent State University and Ohio University, then a pair of victories against Ohio State University. A tough Oakland University gave The Rock another pair of losses, but since then The Pride are riding a four-game winning streak heading into this weekend after victories against State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland, Mercyhurst University, and a pair of wins against Towson University.
When The Pride returns home following their southern road trip, they will prepare for a much-anticipated home battle with Indiana University (Pa) on Saturday, Nov. 4 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Miller said. “Definitely those who aren’t making the trip to Florida are going to start preparing for it, but I mean we’ve been preparing for it since the beginning of the season.”
On Dec. 9, The Pride will take on University of Pittsburgh at UPMC for their Children’s Hospital charity game. The money will be raised from ticket sales, merchandise sold, game jerseys auctions, and much more.
“We want to show the Children’s Hospital that the kids that are pretty much living day to day in the hospital they matter too so we just want to help them out as best we can,” Miller said.