Ryan Chartrand

Once September rolls around, it’s a constant strive until early April for the Cal Poly Roller Hockey team but an ideal setup for a group of athletes who all grew up playing hockey competitively across the country.

The Cal Poly Roller Hockey team started competing at a national level in 1995 as a part of the National Collegiate Roller Hockey League. Ever since then, the self-formed team relies on its players alone to improve.

“Hockey provides us the opportunity to compete for Cal Poly in a sport we all love,” said Matt Lien, the captain for the Division I team. “As a group of friends, we face the challenges of competing at a national level together while having fun.”

There are currently three teams competing – a Division I team and two B teams. The Division I team’s season consists of six regular season tournaments across the state. Four games are played at each tournament.

“How we do overall qualifies us for regionals and then depending on how we do in regionals, we can qualify for nationals,” Lien said.

If whizzing around at a fast pace catches your interest, then practice hard and lace up for tryouts which are at the beginning of each school year. However, Lien says tryouts are the hardest part of the season.

“Unfortunately, we only carry approximately 30 players each year between the three teams, so we have to cut even some players who have played for a long time,” he said.

Once the roster is final, it is time to take on the next big challenge: being their own coaches.

“The team works together to improve, which can be a challenge at times,” Lien said. “But through this challenge, our team grows together and it has led to national success in the past.”

But being critical of a fellow player’s game doesn’t always go over well, Lien explained.

“There are times when there is disagreement among the players on the team about how things should be run and disappointment over others’ performance,” he said.

Still, through it all Lien says one of the best things about the team is that they always get through the disagreements since many players are friends on and off the court – not to mention they all share common goals when it comes to their love for their sport.

“The Division I team strives to win regionals and to do well at nationals,” Lien said. “The same goes for both the B teams, who compete against other B teams.”

So far, these goals are not so far off for these guys. After two tournaments, the Division I team is currently 5-1-1 and tied for second in the Western Conference.

The B teams have each played one tournament and are each 3-1.

The team comes together for practice every Tuesday and Thursday in Santa Maria, the closest rink the team could find.

“Due to the lack of a quality local rink, we play no home tournaments and most people don’t even know that Cal Poly has a hockey team, let alone three,” Lien said.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *