Bobcat hockey has been a success with students and fans since the organization's debut in 2011. As they embark on their 11th year as an organization, the team is equipped with a roster of experienced players, including five newcomers, and hope to top last season's impressive victories against the University of Texas and Baylor.
Last year, 19 players made up the hockey team roster. Along with having a small team, injuries and illnesses throughout the season resulted in a subpar record of six wins and ten losses. With a full roster for the first time since 2018, the hockey team's aspirations for a winning season are high.
Chase Peppard, public relations officer and junior defender for the Bobcats, is optimistic about the rebuild and revamp happening on and off the rink.
"We have a lot of big plans for this season. There's been talk of teaming up with Greek life, increasing our funds and a lot of team-building events," Peppard said. "The goal is always to have fun and make our experience memorable, but that ties into playing good college hockey and representing our school."
Peppard said that despite their small media presence, the hockey fan base is still strong. Last season, almost every tournament was packed wall-to-wall with supportive fans, cheering on the Bobcats until the last buzzer.
Peppard said the team's weekend competing against the Longhorns was their most rigorous game and they are looking forward to a rematch.
“We’re definitely pumped to play UT again. It’s always an intense matchup and the team leaves everything out the ice," Peppard said. "We're ready to hit the ice in full stride again."
Returning senior forward and leading scorer Daniel Mandelbaum is anticipating a solid season to finish out his time on the ice. Despite being a club team whose players pay for their own facilities, jerseys and equipment with little financial support from the university, Mandelbaum is confident in his team's motivations and skillsets.
"The hockey team may be funded by a bunch of college students with shallow pockets, but we don't play like it," Mandelbaum said. "We have some tough guys coming in on the ice."
Although Texas State Hockey is only a club sport, its student-athletes still place their degrees at the forefront.
"It's a tough game. A lot of our guys have to push through the aches and pains while still making it to class and showing up for games," Mandelbaum said. “We’re going to school to play ice hockey but at the end of the day it’s still about the education.”
The Texas State Ice Angels, a social organization that assists with marketing for the hockey team, dedicates time and effort to building support, planning events and drawing in a crowd for games.
Camille Majeres, a marketing senior and public relations officer for the Ice Angels, said the group is presented with the challenge to make hockey interesting to people who do not typically pay attention to it in this region.
"It's not a mainstream sport in the south, like baseball or football," Majeres said. "But hockey is still an important sport to its players and fans."
The Ice Angels rally support for the team through word of mouth and their social media presence. Majeres said they are looking forward to hosting carwashes, date skates, team outings and events on campus this semester to enhance the organization.
"We're rebuilding as much as the hockey team is right now," Majeres said. "But we have a lot of events planned for the organization this season."
The Bobcats return to the ice on Sept. 9 when they will go head-to-head with the East Texas Baptist University Tigers at home.
For Texas State Hockey's full 2022-2023 schedule, visit https://www.txstatehockey.com/schedule/upcoming.