Cool Cats hold high expectations


Goalie Derek Steinbrecher makes the save in the game against Kennesaw State at Lexington Ice Center on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009. Steinbrecher only allowed two goals for the victory. Photo by Scott Hannigan

By Kayla Hayden

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Games start at midnight, fans chant after the team scores a goal, fights break out, and hundreds of fans pack the Lexington Ice Center on Friday and Saturday nights to watch the well-known Cool Cats take the ice.

The UK club hockey team, known around campus as the Cool Cats, gets a lot of buzz every season. This season will not be any different. The Cool Cats were successful in the 2009-2010 season, ending with a 23-9 record.

UK head coach Rob Docherty liked what he saw last year, and with only four seniors having left and several players expected to return, the team looks to build on its past success. Docherty also mentioned this year’s team schedule has a few new arrivals, along with some familiar teams from previous seasons.

“Ohio State and Bowling Green remain on the schedule,” Docherty said. “Both of them went to nationals last season, so there is a rivalry there.”

The Cool Cats will also be facing Louisville this season, after the Cardinals were absent from the schedule for a few years. The team also got invited to the American Collegiate Hockey Association Showcase, where Docherty said the best teams in the nation compete in the tournament. The showcase is being held Oct. 15-17 in Youngstown, Ohio.

“It’s like the cream-of-the-crop teams all being able to play against each other, that wouldn’t otherwise be able to face each other due to lack of funding from being a club sport,” Docherty said.

The team has its first meeting Friday, Aug. 27, for potential and returning players interested in trying out for hockey. They will discuss preparations for tryouts on Sunday. Docherty said the incoming players have a lot of talent, and with most of the members from last season’s team expected to return, there will be plenty of competition.

“It will be tough to fill the spots,” Docherty said. “We will be a deep team. The best players will play.”

Since hockey is a club sport, it does not offer scholarships, and it can be hard to recruit players to come and play. From what Docherty has heard, the team won’t have any problems with having depth in each position.

Last year’s team had players step up when they needed to and Docherty thinks those players will continue to contribute to help making this year’s team a successful one. Though tryouts have not officially occurred, forwards Taylor Vit and Billy Glass are expected to return and assume pivotal roles. Goalie Jim Borgaard is also ready for his senior season. He split time with Derek Steinbrecher last year. Regardless of how the goalie spot shapes up, he expects UK to build off their strong season.

“They are really stepping into their positions and growing as leaders,” Docherty said of the returning players.

Once the rosters are finalized, UK will begin preparing for its season. The Cool Cats will play their first game Sept. 24 against Eastern Kentucky University.