Nearly finished with their first season as an official club sport, the ice hockey team at SF State has run into a financial dilemma. They cannot afford to play their last home game against Santa Clara University that was scheduled for Jan. 11 at the Cow Palace.
The newly established ice hockey team could not meet the funds necessary to pay the $290 referee charges after purchasing uniforms, paying a new membership fee to the Pacific Collegiate Hockey Association and the cost of several home games.
“Each sport team receives around $250 a semester if they are in good standing (but) since we are a brand new club, we didn’t get any funding this season,” said Club Treasurer Andrew Duenes. “Our funds came from our players, ticket sales and from donations we receive.”
Hockey is an expensive sport with a lot of protective equipment that can cost hundreds of dollars per person; but the Associated Students, Inc. has put a restriction on what can be purchased with the University’s money.
“The thing with uniforms is that the school will not pay for personal items that cannot be reused by others, such as jerseys or equipment,” said Club President Dennis Groenlund.
This leaves Groenlund and the rest of the team to find sponsors and sell tickets for their games by tabling at Malcolm X Plaza just to generate enough money to rent the Cow Palace.
It is highly encouraged for clubs to work with the Sports Club Council to create a balanced budget and to raise money through fundraisers on their own if necessary throughout the year, said Assistant Director of Intramurals and Sport Clubs Ryan Fetzer.
The team had six scheduled slots to be played at the Cow Palace but due to unforeseen circumstances, only five were taken.
For every game the team is required to buy and resell 100 tickets, which include entrance to their game in the afternoon and the San Francisco Bulls in the evening, said Community Hockey Director for the SF Bulls Hector Rodriguez. Ironically, the SF Bulls, who they share a home arena with, have also run into financial trouble and had to fold in the middle of their season.
In addition to ticket sales, the team also has to constantly travel back and forth to practice at the Nazareth Ice Oasis in Redwood City.
“Practice does not cost as much (as games),” Duenes said. “But it accumulates over time with the amount of practices we do. Most of our funds do go to playing home games at the Cow Palace.”
The team is currently requesting additional funding from the SF State Sports Council to support their last home game before the season is over. In hopes of a successful request, the game is rescheduled for Jan. 31.
“Obviously the team wasn’t stoked about the cancellation of the game, but there was no other way around it,” Groenlund said. “The players weren’t angry and if (the game) gets played on a date where school has started, more people are able to come out and watch. So on the positive side, we don’t have to play in an empty stadium.”
In view of the offseason, the team will continue to practice and there will be tryouts for students who are interested in joining. However, with the announced bankruptcy of the SF Bulls on Monday, it is uncertain whether the SF State hockey team will continue to play at the Cow Palace.
“Unfortunately (everything) did not turn out as planned, so we have to find an alternative solution for next season. In any case, it is the first season and mistakes must be made to move forward,” Groenlund said.