Saturday, September 09, 2006

Utah Utes Resurrects Hockey Program with Female Goalie

Not too many of my readers might be aware of the University of Utah Skatin' Utes hockey program, but it is trying to make a comeback. The program had been under a lot of penalties after the governing body called, Campus Recreation, self-imposed a three year ban on the program. The University hoped it would purge itself after their reputation was tarnished from a group of hooligan students.
[They] have probably graduated by now-or more likely, flunked out. Since then, the U has been without a hockey team, but that will change this fall when a new group of players takes to the ice.

These players' predecessors skipped classes, partied constantly, damaged school property and still owe the university tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid fees, said J.M. Le Cointre, one of the students responsible for restoring the program.
But after a long battle with the University that the program was no longer able to do the despicable things it was accused of, the newly-hired coach, Bob Wilkinson, was ready to begin building a quality winning program.
He wants the team to play European-style hockey and has studied the Slovakian team, hoping to mirror that program at the U. He said that this is the way to change hockey's image in the eye of the public.
Well, if the coach has done that, its a guaranteed success! And once the coach and gameplan was laid out for success, the next step was to form the roster, like every good GM/Coach knows is to build a team from the goalie outward. The Skatin' Utes are looking toward a young 20-year-old named Melissa Kincher.
"Melissa is an exceptional goaltender, boy or girl," said Bob Wilkinson, head coach of the U hockey team. "She shines."
It seems like the coach is willing to give the girl a try, but it is also encouraging that her future teammates are open to the idea.
The guys don't seem to think she is invading their turf. "They're pretty supportive, they tell me how good I do," said Kincher of her teammates. "They're used to playing with me, it's not a big deal for them."

Among her teammates is forward Eric Rees, who likes having Kincher on the team and considers her "a great player. Girls can be good at goalie because they're flexible," Rees explained. Kincher is a goalie who uses her flexibility to make saves and has been known to do the splits to deflect a puck.
This is somewhat a familiar senario where a new hockey program has an open call and causes some media buzz about a "diamond in the rough". The Skatin' Utes may have something special that could turn really progressive and avant-garde.
Kincher has always enjoyed playing with guys. "I like the adrenaline rush," she said.

[Via: Daily Utah Chronicle & Daily Utah Chronicle]
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