Deal in progress for club hockey team to switch rinks

Temple hopes to move to a rink in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, to cut travel time to home games.

Temple is negotiating a deal to practice and play home games at The Rink on Old York Road in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, during the 2018-19 season. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

During the past three seasons, the club hockey team played its home games at two different rinks. The Owls have always looked for a more special place to call “home,” senior defenseman and club president Ryan Dumbach said.

Next season, they may just find one.

The team is negotiating a contract with The Rink on Old York Road in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, where it has practiced in the past. Zach Burkhardt, club vice president and junior goaltender, said The Rink on Old York Road would be more convenient because players can drive there from Main Campus in about 20 minutes.

During the 2015-16 and 2017-18 seasons, Temple played at the Flyers Skate Zone in Northeast Philadelphia. In the 2016-17 season, the Owls played at Revolution Ice Gardens in Bucks County. It takes at least 30 minutes to drive to both of those rinks from Main Campus.

Burkhardt said Temple shared this past year’s rink with about 15 youth teams, a few middle school and high school teams and La Salle’s club men’s hockey team.

Because of the rink’s limited availability, the team never had much say on when it could practice or play games, Dumbach said.

“We felt like we were a visiting team in our own home rink,” assistant coach and general manager Brandon Richards said. “Somewhere that we could call our own and have that respect throughout the rink as the premier team there was the main goal.”

The team is looking to raise about $10,000 to secure the new rink through a fundraiser, Dumbach said. The money will go toward upgrading the locker room at The Rink on Old York Road and providing a better experience for players on game and practice days, he added.

Burkhardt said practices often started after 10 p.m. and keep players on the ice until 11:30 p.m.

“As a result of all of that, we wouldn’t get back to campus until well after midnight,” he added. “Having the availability to dictate what time we’re practicing and when we’re back on campus…was a huge factor in our decision-making.”

The Owls believe that changing rinks could push the team to a higher level in the near future. Temple’s 2017-18 season ended in the first round of the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs after a 3-0 loss to Villanova on Feb. 23 in Aston, Pennsylvania.

Dumbach thinks the move could help bring recruits to the program.

“We want to paint the walls in the school colors, put the logo on the locker room floor and give each player a personal stall,” Dumbach said. “We’d like to settle at this rink for the future of the team. Recruiting is huge for us, and we want to bring them and show them the locker room and show them that they’re going to be a part of this team.”

Burkhardt said he thinks the team will find consistency at The Rink on Old York Road for the first time in three years.

“I feel like we’re 100 percent going to stick with this place,” Burkhardt said. “They’ve already shown us inside, and we haven’t even signed the full contract yet. We really feel welcome there. Obviously, there’s going to be some kinks along the way. But if we can iron them all out in the first year and get our business done, I think it’s going to be huge for all parties involved.”

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