The UCSB ice hockey club kicked off its inaugural season this past weekend, defeating UC Davis 9-6 and Fresno State 5-3 after losing its opener to Santa Clara 2-5.
After three games, UCSB (2-1-0 overall) holds first place in the South division. Junior forward Travis Noe leads the team in points with five goals and seven assists.
Led by senior Matthew Snyder and junior Jake Wiskel, a group of students from the roller hockey program fought to make their ice hockey team recognized by UCSB, and officially joined the Pacific
Collegiate Hockey Association this year. Other teams in the league include Cal State Northridge, College of the Canyons, UC Davis, Sacramento State, Santa Clara, Northern Arizona University, Fresno State and San Jose State; College of the Canyons won last year’s PCHA Championship.
“Our goal is to win the PCHA,” team captain and President Matthew Snyder said. “So far we’ve beaten the favorite, Fresno State. I don’t think any team in the league is out of our sight. We want to take the championship.”
While it awaits the completion of Ice in Paradise, a new ice arena in Goleta, the UCSB ice hockey club currently plays at Channel Islands Ice in Oxnard. Wynmark Company has donated the land for the facility, but funding has stalled construction of the state-of-the–art skating rink.
“We’ve been in contact with the head of fundraising, and we’re doing all we can to help out the process,” assistant coach and senior Gabe Mosse said.
Until then the Gauchos play in Oxnard, about a 40-minute drive away. With a full squad, the UCSB ice hockey club is now working to build up its fan base.
“We need to get as many fans as we can to our home games,” Snyder said. “We’re trying to arrange a bus to give kids a ride there and back, but it depends on our budget.”
Their next game is their home opener on Nov. 5 against Sacramento State at 9 p.m. Entrance is free with a student ID.
“Anybody that wants to play hockey should contact us,” Snyder said. “We’re always looking for new people. We encourage anybody who wants to play to come out and join our program.”
To contact the UCSB ice hockey club, visit its website at ucsbicehockey.com.