hockey is coming to Pitt-Bradford this fall thanks
to some fans of the wintry sport.
The club team will play four games
at its home rink in Callahan Park at 10 a.m. Oct. 13 against the University of
Buffalo; at 10 a.m. Oct. 27 against Gannon University; at 10 am. Nov. 10
against Medaille University; and at 10 a.m. Nov. 17 against D’Youville College.
Admission is free, and, following
the $1.8 million renovation of the rink at Callahan Park, there is spectator
Practice began last week, supervised
by Greg Miller, coordinator of residential network services at Pitt-Bradford,
and the team opened away Sept. 29 at D’Youville College. Matthew Pekular, a junior petroleum technology and environmental
studies student from Pittsburgh, was the driving force behind starting the
Pekular has played amateur hockey
since he was 4 and continued playing in high school for Bishop Canevin in
During his second winter at
Pitt-Bradford without hockey, he decided to do something about that.
“I had an itch to play college club
hockey, and I was looking to get involved on this campus,” he said.
He began recruiting some students to
join a list saying that they were interested, then took the list to Dr. K.
James Evans, vice president and dean of student affairs. Evans asked Pekular and
two other interested players, Richard Obermeyer, a senior criminal justice
major from Bradford, and Anthony Citrini, an athletic training major from
Pittsburgh, to write a proposal and make a presentation for Dr. Livingston
Alexander, president, to seek approval.
Once approved, funding became the
next challenge. The university will pay for transportation to away games, but
students are funding the cost of equipment and ice time themselves.
An early supporter of the students
was Ray Geary, executive director of the division of continuing education and
regional development, whose sons played hockey. Geary is now the club advisor
and has helped with publicity and fundraising.
Pekular said he received help, also,
from Lori Mazza, director of athletics and recreational sports; Tim Sneeringer,
director of recreation, intramurals and aquatics; and Betty Spindler,
administrative assistant for athletics and recreational sports.
The athletics staff helped with
contacting other club teams, scheduling, finding referees and executing
contracts for the ice rink.
By the time Pekular and other
students were recruiting new members at the fall semester club night, there was
a good amount of interest, he said. “We’re in a hockey area,” he said. “There’s
so much enthusiasm around here.” Some students, he said, had not even skated
before and spent the summer practicing at home.
Students playing and volunteering on
the first-year team are Pekular, defense, club president; Citrini, defense,
club treasurer; Joshua Kausner, a 2013 graduate, forward; Obermeyer, forward;
Jeffrey Engels, an athletic training major from West Valley, N.Y., forward;
Nicholas Gier, an environmental studies major from North Collins, N.Y.,
forward; Elizabeth Rix, a criminal justice major from Shinglehouse, defense; Matthew
Tobin, an engineering major from Exton, defense; Artie Geahr, a member of the
sport and recreation staff, goalie;
Demontier, a sports medicine major from Russell, forward, club vice president; Russ
Marold, a petroleum technology major from Kane, forward, club secretary;
Nikolas Cubbison, an undeclared major from Evans City, forward; Ty Riley, an
undeclared major from Bradford, forward; Emily Volpe, a pre-physical therapy
major from Brockport, N.Y., volunteer; Allison Nolan, a sports medicine major
from Girard, manager; and Shane Marucci, a sport and recreation management
major from Celoron, N.Y., volunteer.
games will take place as follows: 4 p.m. Oct 12 at Medaille; 8:15 p.m. Oct. 26
at Alfred State; 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at Pitt-Greensburg; and 1 p.m. Nov. 23 at