When Jacksonville University alumni think back to their days as students, memories of walking across the picturesque campus or enjoying an outdoor sporting event may come to mind.
Attending a JU ice hockey game? That wasn’t conceivable.
A group of hockey enthusiasts is hoping to change things this fall as 16 current and incoming JU students have joined together to establish a club team to play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (www.achahockey.org). The team is open to male and female JU students who have a grade point average of at least 2.0 and who are enrolled in at least nine credit hours of undergraduate-level classes or at least six credit hours of graduate-level classes.
Coached by Dan Pszenyczny, the team will play at Jax Ice and Sportsplex with a schedule that includes Auburn and North Carolina State. Pszenyczny played for the Jacksonville Barracudas, a professional team that was part of three minor league organizations from 2002 to 2008, and assistant coach Mick Dolan – a former JU admissions representative — played professional and NCAA Division 1 hockey.
The American Collegiate Hockey Association includes 11 other Florida members and Kennesaw State in Georgia, which like JU is a member of the Atlantic Sun Athletic Conference.
“We feel it is the perfect time (to start a hockey club at JU) …” Pszenyczny said. “JU is rich with students from the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic (region) and Central Midwest. We believe we can build a program now and look to bring a national championship back to JU within the next few years.”
While the squad is in a fundraising mode, it also is seeking to fill some positions on the team before practice begins Sept. 3, said General Manager Michael Rapp, a New York native and former JU student who has been involved in hockey since 1984.
The general manager and coaches are volunteers, Rapp said.
For information about JU hockey, contact Rapp at JUHockey@gmail.com or (904) 312-1301, or visit the JU Hockey Club on Facebook.