Creating a successful club sport on campus is a difficult task. In just their second year of existence, the Boise State women’s hockey club has already experienced their share of difficulties.
“There’s a lot of extra time that goes into it,” said sophomore defenseman Maggie Shumar. “Right now, the girls are struggling with time management and accountability.”
A season ago, the team competed in a local women’s league. However, after going 20-1 and not facing the competition that they were hoping for, the league and team agreed to move on from one another. A potential matchup between the Broncos and the University of Idaho was in discussion, but the Vandals club consisted of only two members, compared to the Broncos’ 13.
Currently, the Broncos practice for one hour twice a week and participate in just three tournaments during a six-month span. The team projects to play only 12 games in the entirety of the season; the lack of opportunity to improve can be an issue for the team’s growth.
“It’s hard to get the girls to be dedicated and come out to stuff when we aren’t playing many games,” said Vice President Becca Schlake. “With returning some girls that were new last year, it will help us with our experience. On the ice, I think we are fine, but off the ice, there’s definitely an issue with time management.”
In contrast to Schlake’s sentiment, head coach Suzanne Ostrow is still optimistic about her team’s makeup. With 13 total women on the current roster, seven are returners.
“I think that the struggle is just a matter of our club being new,” Ostrow said. “We actually brought on a lot of talented recruits this year.”
One main concern for the Broncos is finances. Since the team is still in its beginning stage, the group does not receive the same amount of funding from the university as other established club teams. Some of the expenses procured by members of the team include paying for ice time, hockey equipment, tournament fees and travel.
“We have already done more fundraising this year than we [did]all of last [year],” Schlake said.
With hockey being a regional sport, very few opportunities are given to young women to pursue their dreams on the ice in the state of Idaho. The nearest Division I women’s hockey program is 1,653 miles away at the University of Wisconsin.
Even with an internal and external struggle to grow her club, Ostrow recognizes the impact that her team can have on a new generation in the Boise area.
“The sport is definitely growing in the area, but has more growth to do,” Ostrow said. “Having a women’s college team will help get some younger girls inspired.”
Anyone wanting to get involved with the women’s hockey team can contact club president Samantha Johnson. The team practices on the ice on Tuesdays at 6:30 a.m. and off the ice on Thursdays at 8 p.m. at Idaho Ice World.