They are ranked No. 1 in the nation. They have as many losses this year as UTD’s non-existent football team. They are the most successful team in the history of their league.
No, it’s not the chess team – it’s the Comet roller hockey squad who stormed through the Southwest Collegiate Hockey League (SCHL) with a 20-0 record en route to a berth in next month’s national championships.
So dominant are the Comet skaters that team members lead the league in assists, wins by a goalie, goals against average and save percentage. Offensively, UTD leaves a little more to be desired. Of the 2,500 skaters in the league, Comets players are ranked only third in points and fourth in scoring.
“The success has been great. It’s something we’ve always skated for,” said junior forward Lee Clark. “It’s something we’ve always been working for.”
The puck dropped to signal the birth of hockey at UTD in 1998. Since then, the Comets have won the league title twice, including last season.
UTD is set to defend its title in the regional tournament March 26-28, facing off against the same SCHL foes they have tormented all year.
“It’s fun somewhat [to win big], but it really isn’t. We do it to go to nationals. We’ve all grown up playing together and this is just bracketing us in the college division,” Clark said.
Regardless of their success at regionals, the Comets have already been invited to the national championships in Anaheim, Calif., April 14-18, where they look to improve on last year’s third-place finish.
“We’re very confident, but it’ll take a lot of work. Seeing how well we did last year and remembering the feeling of losing will help us,” Clark said.
Clark laments the fact that the hockey team is under the radar at UTD, so much so that the players have to pay out of pocket to reserve a practice rink.
“We would like publicity and fan support, but growing up with hockey in Texas you don’t have many followers,” he said.