The K-State Inline Hockey Club will kick off a full-fledged weekend of hockey on Saturday to celebrate the opening of the new multi-activity court gym at the Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex.
The festivities will start Saturday at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony that will include promotional giveaways, an appearance by Willie the Wildcat and a performance of the national anthem by the K-State Color Guard. A total of five games will take place over the weekend with three played on Saturday and two on Sunday. All games are free for K-State students to attend.
Kyle Probst, inline hockey club president and assistant team captain, believes the games will provide a fun and unique opportunity for Manhattan residents.
"They’re fast-paced. A lot of people here in Kansas have never seen hockey," said Probst, who is a graduate student in grain science. "It will be a way for people to come out and check it out for their first time."
Before the opening of the multi-activity gym, the hockey club had no place to call home. The club team first started in 1996, playing on the campus tennis courts. The team then moved its practices to a roller rink in Junction City.
Not having a stable home has not stopped the team from traveling all over the country. The club’s games and tournaments have taken the team from Chicago to Colorado and even New Orleans.
The team, which competes in the Great Plains division of the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association, has made it to the national competition three times and has appeared in the final four twice, including last year.
Jerry Remsbecker, coach and faculty adviser for the inline team and computer information specialist in the dean of agriculture’s office, said Saturday’s event will be a great way for the group to get some long-deserved exposure.
"My guys have been working in the dark for 17 years. Nobody knows they exist," Remsbecker said. "My guys deserve some kind of reward for all the time and effort they have put in to represent the college."
The new Rec gym not only gives the team a place to call home, but it also boasts some impressive features.
"It’s actually an Olympic-sized roller hockey rink," said Parker Conant, team captain and senior in journalism and mass communications. "We’ve got an advantage having this large rink and being able to practice on it and get in shape."
Hockey may not be the most prominent sport in this region, but Travis Redeker, assistant director of recreation services, said the team will be a great group for students to support.
"I know I personally really respect just how much time and effort they put into something, because they truly play for the love of the game," Redeker said. "When they beat KU, they’re just as proud as when anybody else beats KU."
The inline hockey club consists of roughly 16 members, with players ranging from 18 to 29 years old, and is always looking to add to its ranks. The captains encourage interested individuals to visit the K-State Inline Hockey Facebook page, email [email protected] or to check out a practice or game at the Rec.