The University of Akron Zips hockey team will battle against teams from The Ohio State University and Virginia Tech this weekend at the Center Ice Sports Complex in North Canton.
The Zips hockey team is a club sport participating in the Southeast Conference in Division II of the American Collegiate Hockey Association or ACHA. They compete in the Tri-States Collegiate Hockey League (TSCHL) with teams from Cincinnati, Dayton, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Louisville, Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Wright State.
The team is coached by Bill Houmard who is entering his second season coaching the Zips. After a rough start last year, Houmard led the Zips to the TSCHL playoffs— their first post-season since creation in 2006.
At the beginning of the fall semester, there is an organizational meeting in which tryout times and team information is distributed. The tryout is open to any Akron student with a 2.0 GPA and a minimum of 9 credit hours (6 for a graduate student).
The meeting and tryouts are mandatory for all new and returning players. Hopefuls must pay a fee before even hitting the ice for the tryout, in addition to owning full protective gear.
The team allows students to continue their playing career while attending school, but because of its club status, cannot offer scholarships. Each student must pay a yearly fee of $1,800 to cover travel costs, practice ice time, and uniforms.
“Our yearly operating costs are over $60,000, and we try to keep the cost to the players down as much as we can through fundraisers,” team president Kyle Alther said.
The team holds a golf outing each year and other fundraising events, but also looks for sponsors to help out.
“We also get a few donations each year from people who really just love hockey,” Alther said.
Friday night, Akron will take on The Ohio State Buckeyes and on Saturday, Virginia Tech will be the opponent. Opening face-off both nights is 8:40 p.m.
Akron students get in free with their Zip card with all other tickets being $5. Center Ice Sports Complex is located at 8319 Port Jackson Ave. NW and is just a short trip down I-77 to North Canton.