We are the Club Ice Hockey Team at the University of Florida. We receive very little funding from the University,(about $10,000) especially when you consider what the NCAA sports receive. We normally operate on around a $40,000 budget which is barely enough to cover the costs of a hockey season. It is up to the players and their families to cover the remaining $30,000. We practice and play home games in Jacksonville which is over 90 minutes from the school. We are responsible for our trasportation to and from practice and home games. We are limited to just ONE practice per week because of the cost of ice time. We are limited in the amount of games we can play because of the cost of ice time and travel. While you may imagine a group the size of a hockey team would take a charter bus to away games and staying in a nice hotel, we rent mini vans and cram as many players in as few vans as possible and stay in cheap motels, sleeping 4 players to a room, to minimize costs. For the SEC playoffs this past season, a discount we normally recieve through the school was not honored and instead of having the financial flexability to travel normally, players had to drive their own cars, fitting much less people than a mini van per vehicle, the 7 hours to Pelham, Alabama to play in their league's playoffs.
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We are not just hockey players, we are college students. Most NCAA sport programs have tutors for their students to help with the time commitment of playing a sport. We do not have that. Despite this and many of the players having rigourous majors including pre-med, accounting, and engineering, 20 of 23 players made the SEC Hockey Conference All Academic Team, the most in the SECHC, by maintaining a 3.2GPA or higher. This is also completely a student run team. With the exception of the coaching staff, every leadership position including President, VP, Treasurer, and Secretary are held by members of the team in addition to their responsibilities on the ice and in the classroom.
We are looking to the Gator Nation and the hockey community as a whole to help our program and the players coming through it grow and prosper. Any amount is appreciated as we look to continue and improve our success both on and off the ice.