The Virginia Tech ice hockey club will travel to the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association (MACHA) southeast regional tournament for the first time in team history Feb. 26-27 in Philadelphia, Pa.
The team's first regional tournament opponent will be rival Penn State. With two wins at the southeast regional tournament, the team would advance to the American Collegiate Hockey Association national championship in San Jose, Calif.
Prior to the start of the 2010-2011 season, the team began working with a new coaching staff led by Head Coach Keith Houghton and joined the MACHA. Despite the tougher new schedule, the Hokies defeated in-state rival University of Virginia, in addition to Binghamton University, Temple University, Liberty University, Penn State, and nationally ranked University of Maryland, Baltimore County. These wins helped catapult Virginia Tech into the top 10 rankings for the first time, with a No. 6 ranking in the southeast MACHA region.
“The team had to overcome many obstacles this year, including starting off the season practicing in Lynchburg while we waited for the ice to be put in at the Roanoke Civic Center. This meant practice twice a week starting at 11 p.m. or later in Lynchburg,” explains Andy Morales of Oak Hill, Va., team president and junior majoring in finance in the Pamplin College of Business. “Our final ranking of No. 6 in the Southeast is very respectable for such a young team.”
Currently, the team is preparing to take on Kennesaw State University in the MACHA South playoffs at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Admission tickets are $3 for students, $5 for adults, and free for seniors, children, and military. Members of the Hokie community are encouraged to attend to support the team; for those who cannot make the trip, the club will be broadcasting the game online. If the Hokies defeat Kennesaw State, they will advance and play Sunday, Feb. 20 at 2:30 p.m.
“With such a young team, we never thought we would be sitting in the position we are in,” said Morales. “But with all of the injuries and hardships we have had to face, our team has shown that we want to continue winning and put Virginia Tech on the map as a perennial hockey powerhouse.”
The ice hockey club is one of 29 sport clubs within the Department of Recreational Sports.