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FAU Hockey

There was an article on the hockey team in the Sun-Sentinel today:

ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/hockey/panthers/sfl-fauhockey02feb02,0,1526094.story?coll=sfla-sports-panthers

FAU hockey heating up

By Michael Russo
Staff Writer
Posted February 2 2005

As owners and players battle over millions during the NHL lockout, a bunch of college students in Boca Raton are offering a dose of perspective.

Members of the Florida Atlantic University Ice Hockey Club don't complain about the hundreds of dollars they have shelled out for equipment, jerseys and travel expenses.

Lawrence "Beau" Lavender, a 31-year-old senior majoring in philosophy and the team's general manager, actually beams while revealing that he's $15,000 in debt and his credit cards are maxed out because of all the money he has spent ordering merchandise and renting ice for practices and games.

Tim Kyrkostas, the team's 26-year-old coach with a wife and two children, works 50 hours a week as a financial planner in West Palm Beach before driving to Coral Springs' Incredible Ice three or four times a week.

"We practice until midnight and I live in Wellington, so I don't get home until 1 a.m.," Kyrkostas said, smiling.

Why such commitment?

"We love the game," Lavender said. "It's [American Collegiate Hockey Association] Division III hockey. Nobody's going to go pro. They're playing because they love the sport, they love their school, they love their community. And they want to bring respect to South Florida hockey."

With a 16-6-1 record, FAU is ranked second in the 27-team southern region of the ACHA Division III. The top three teams from each of the five regions will advance to nationals March 2-5 in Pittsburgh.

If FAU wins its final two games at Incredible Ice – at 9:15 p.m. Friday against Embry-Riddle and at 9:15 p.m. Saturday against Florida – the team is almost assured of retaining its top-three standing so it can attend nationals.

"We deserve it," said goaltender Erik Bentley, who lives in Margate. "We've worked very hard this year to turn ourselves into a top team. We have a lot of skill, a lot of upper-level players. We've traveled and played top teams. And we feel we can beat anybody."

With the economic battle taking place in the NHL, this is hockey at its purest form. It's a club, meaning it's not affiliated with the FAU athletic department. The team gets no use of the school's fitness facilities, no financial support from the athletic department and little financial support from the student government. It's not even allowed to use the school's mascot, "Owls," in its name.

While the student government gave the team $15,000 at the start of the season, that was wiped out quickly. The club has traveled all over Florida and on trips to Tulane, Colorado-Boulder, Northern Colorado-Greeley, Wyoming, the Citadel and Georgia Tech.

The team relies mostly on fund-raising golf tournaments, merchandise, $5 tickets for non-FAU students and game-night raffles. Lavender and the players fund the rest.

The team usually practices Tuesdays and Thursdays but had to cancel this Thursday's practice because it couldn't afford the $275 rental fee.

"There's nothing you can do about it," said freshman Daniel Sosa, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, who along with his brother, Adrian, leads the team in scoring. "It's a commitment, but we want to play hockey."

The team has developed a following from die-hard hockey fans.

"Now that the NHL's not going on this year, we're the next-best hockey in South Florida," Bentley said. "Me personally, I'm a fan of hockey, but Panthers come first. Basically if it weren't for me playing for the FAU team, I'd be going nuts. This is like my release when I come out here because no NHL, there's nothing to watch now on TV. I haven't watched TV in like eight months."

Panthers season-ticket holder Carl Kanas has attended several FAU games with friend and fellow Panthers season-ticket holder Steve Weinstein.

"I need to get my hockey fix somehow," said Kanas, a Plantation resident. "Hockey's a game about passion, and the fans are no different."

Kyrkostas, who won a Division III national championship in 2000 playing at Norwich University in Vermont, has worked tirelessly at putting together a solid product.

With a strong defense built around Bentley in goal and blue-liners Tyler Cordery and Rob Meschino, and a prolific offense with the Sosa brothers, Bruce Warzoha and captain Adam Berzak leading the way, Kyrkostas believes FAU has the ability to have success at nationals and in the future.

"The structure that we're establishing is going to show in the coming years," Kyrkostas said.

Lavender, who is from Toronto, has worked for the Tampa Bay Lightning and played on FAU's team last year before shoulder surgery sidelined him. He has logged innumerable hours to get the hockey team some publicity. He even presented Sen. John Kerry, a lifelong hockey fan who played at Yale, with an FAU jersey when the former Democratic presidential nominee was giving a speech on the Boca Raton campus last year.

"[Lavender's] passion for the sport of hockey is unbelievable," Kyrkostas said. "You have owners and players in the NHL fighting over millions and millions of dollars and nobody wants to give, but here's a kid willing to give everything he's got for this team. The kid has laid out $15,000 out of his own pocket to run this team."

With no NHL and South Florida fans wanting to see hockey, Lavender hopes fans flock to this weekend's final two home games.

"When you come to an FAU game, you don't feel like you're going to a men's league game. It's like walking into a college hockey arena. We want it to have that feel. We want to be taken seriously on and off the ice.

"At the end of the season, if we don't have the money, we'll continue the fund-raisers, plan for next year and work to pay off this year's debts. But we're not giving up. We have something good going here."
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FAU Hockey

Thanks, for posting that Im77.
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The kid has laid out $15,000 out of his own pocket to run this team.

We were talking about this topic on our board. Someone told me at one of MTSU's games that hockey is considered a rich kid's sport because the players have to pay for their own equipment, ice time, officials, etc.

But also, isn't Boca Raton one of the Top 5 wealthiest cities in the nation? I think so. It certainly is a destination in which the rich retire.

That alone is why I am not surprised that FAU hockey has so much backing. Very good hockey team FAU has. I hope to get off work so I can watch our team compete in Nationals–if we get the bid that we deserve.

MTSU has proven to be the best team in the nation. If the selection committee does not allow our kids to go to Nationals, then we'll all know the ACHA selection committee is flawed.
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The FAU Ice Hockey Club should be in the national tournament, which is in Pittsburgh March 2-5. The final rankings for the club are expected to be released Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. These determine which teams will be invited to the nationals. The Owls, 18-6-1, were ranked No. 2 (behind Florida Gulf Coast University) in the South Division in the previous round of rankings. The Owls closed their season Feb. 5 by hammering the University of Florida, 12-2.

The club plays in Division 3 of the American Collegiate Hockey Association. This is not NCAA, but it is good hockey.

Here's a link to the Owls' schedule and web site:

http://www.fauicehockey.com/schedule.php
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The FAU Ice Hockey Club should be in the national tournament, which is in Pittsburgh March 2-5. The final rankings for the club are expected to be released Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. These determine which teams will be invited to the nationals. The Owls, 18-6-1, were ranked No. 2 (behind Florida Gulf Coast University) in the South Division in the previous round of rankings. The Owls closed their season Feb. 5 by hammering the University of Florida, 12-2.

The club plays in Division 3 of the American Collegiate Hockey Association. This is not NCAA, but it is good hockey.

Here's a link to the Owls' schedule and web site:

http://www.fauicehockey.com/schedule.php

I think you guys are going. We just found out today that our team got snubbed by Wright State. It's an injustice. We are the only hockey team in our freakin' region with four hours of anyone that worth a dang.

I can't believe these sorry Yankee sympathizers think that because MTSU can't afford these trips to the Northeast, that suddenly we aren't worth a damn.

I am very angry right now.
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Great news, Owls fans! According to the American Collegiate Hockey Association web site…

http://www.achahockey.org/league.php?scriptName=LEAGUEINFO&leagueID=7880&leagueInfoID=14167

…FAU gets a bid to the national Div. III tournament. The site says three teams from the South Division get bids: 1. Florida Gulf Coast; 2. FAU; 3. University of Texas at Austin.

This is not NCAA, but it is good hockey. The guys pretty much pay their own way, so if you can send 'em a few bucks, it will be most welcome. The tournament is in or near Pittsburgh March 2-5.
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That's great that they have a chance at a National Title.

Is there a chance that the games will be broadcasted on the wed?

Go Owls!!
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That's great that they have a chance at a National Title.

Is there a chance that the games will be broadcasted on the wed?

Go Owls!!

Nope. There are no broadcasts of these games on radio, television, or Internet mainly because the tournament is an exclusive affair and they'll be charging $40 per tournament ticket. They be out to make money for a sport that is not very popular (but is getting increasingly popular).

If you want to see the action, you'll have to be at the arena at California University of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh to see it.
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good for these guys. but what they don't know is Dan Dzurak from the college sun was the orignal founder of the team and when the coach morris came along he pushed dan to the side. Dan also put up thousands of dollars of his own money and scheduled teams like Duke to play in his spring break tourney in south florida. I grauduated in 2002 and from 1998 till then the team struggled even more so with less support from the Uni. let's not forget the beginning.
Good Luck to all the guys on the team and bring home a championship.
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Here's a new article in the PB Post:

ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/bocaraton/content/neighborhood/boca/epaper/2005/02/16/npo22_fauhockey_0216.html

"While there is no record of ticket sales to verify that, the crowds do appear to be larger than those at most of the school's basketball games."
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