UNO hockey team ready to hit the ice

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October 1st, 2010

After a long summer filled with early-morning workouts, the University of Nebraska at Omaha hockey team is ready to hit the rink. This Maverick sports feature is a partnership of KVNO News and Maverick Athletics.

The Mavs opened the season with a 6-1 win against the University of British Columbia (Photo courtesy Maverick Athletics)

Last season, UNO finished with 20 wins, 16 losses, and 6 ties. It was the fourth time the Mavericks had won 20 or more games.  The 2010-2011 season brings a new set of challenges to the team.  The second year for Head Coach Dean Blais will be played in a different conference. UNO leaves behind its 11-year membership in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association to join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.  For UNO, switching conferences eases some of the travel burden. Many of the WCHA members are located between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes.  However, Coach Blais said, it will not ease the schedule.

“Certainly in the WCHA, it’s tough competition,” he said. “Five of the top 12 teams are in the WCHA nationally, so it’s going to be tough. And it starts even worse. We’ve got to go to Minnesota, where there’ll be ten thousand Gopher fans yelling. And then next weekend, we’ve got to go to Ann Arbor.”

When that conference schedule begins on October 15th against the University of Minnesota, fans will notice one major difference.  UNO will no longer have conference games that end in shootouts.  WCHA rules allow games to end tied after overtime. For Oct. 2nd’s exhibition game against the University of British Columbia, senior forward Joey Martin will wear the captain’s “C” on his sweater when the Mavericks take the ice at Qwest Center Omaha. Martin’s teammates voted nearly unanimously to elect him captain, an honor he said he takes seriously.

“Definitely getting votes from my fellow peers means a lot to me,” he said, “they’re the guys who are around me all the time so it’s something I’m not going to take for granted.” “Obviously, being captain comes with a lot of responsibility, but I think I’m ready for it.”

The puck drops at 7:07 pm Oct. 2nd.

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