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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Stony Brook’s Own National Champs

    Piling into about eight of their own cars on a Friday night, the 26 Stony Brook roller hockey team members embark on a three-hour road trip to Philadelphia. No team logo on their uniform and a vacant coaching position, in their second year, this team managed to become National Champions.

    College roller hockey started to gain ground in 1994. Many associations formed during the early years including the Collegiate Roller Hockey League, which was formed during the 1998-1999 season. In 2003, the Associations connected with the Collegiate Roller Hockey League left to form the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association, the current association for college roller hockey teams. Within the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association there are seven member organizations, each one representing a specific area of the United States.

    ‘Currently there are over 120 colleges and universities participating nationwide in the NCRHA, over 40 that field a second or third team and over 2000 players,’ said Brennan Edwards, executive director of the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association.

    Stony Brook University is one of those schools that have a second team, which is remarkable considering their start. In 2005, Damon Vetere and his girlfriend Shawna Smith came up with the idea to start a roller hockey club on campus. They were instrumental in the start because they held the tryouts, talked to the association, scheduled practices and got the team up and running. The first year they had enough players for just one team but the following year more people wanted to play, allowing them to add another team. The second team is considered the B team or is similar to a junior varsity team.

    Each member of the team paid about $1600 to play the first year. The money was used for practice time, travel expenses, equipment and uniforms. They were only giving $1000 in funding the first year from Stony Brook University and $1100 the second year. ‘Majority of the games were in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey,’ said Paul Christensen, former Stony Brook University roller hockey player. Stony Brook University does not provide the team with transportation to their games, instead of paying for a coach bus themselves, costing about $1000 a day, they carpool to all the games. Every game they play is considered an away game because they are the only team that does not have a home rink. Last year they even had to pay out of pocket for their flights to the National Championship in St. Louis.

    ‘The only time we consider it a home game is when we play a tournament on Long Island,’ said Peter Gugliotta, assistant captain of the Stony Brook roller hockey team.

    Mid-way through the first season, Damon Vetere reached out to Joe Tamburino and got him involved with the Stony Brook roller hockey program. Both Tamburino and the roller hockey team were at the same tournament. He was there watching his brother participate in the tournament with Towson University.

    Tamburino was inspired by Stony Brook University’s determination to play that he decided to fill the vacant coaching position. He came into the organization with a lot of knowledge about roller hockey. In 1993, at the age of 19, Tamburino was drafted to play professional roller hockey. He has participated in professional roller hockey for eight years and also played in minor league ice hockey. Now along with coaching the team, he is a member of the Long Island 495ers, a team in the Professional Inline Hockey Association.

    ‘Last year was the best experience I’ve ever had in hockey,’ said Joe Tamburino, Stony Brook roller hockey coach. ‘It is definitely an honor to be around the Stony Brook team, they are a great bunch of personalities.’

    In 2005, their first year in existence, they had a record of six wins, 13 losses and three ties. The second year they had a record of 11 wins, three losses and two ties. They then ran the table in the playoffs by winning 13 straight games and won the National Championship. The roller hockey team ‘went from the worst team to the best,’ said Christensen. The National Championship was won in Division II; they since have moved up to Division I and are now ranked number two in the country.

    After winning the National Championship the school upped their funding to $28,000. The funding is now used for the league fee, about $10,000 a year for both teams, practice time and hotels, that run about $1300-$2000 each tournament. They still purchase their own uniforms, because they want to keep them and if they used the funding they would have to return them to the school at the end of the year.

    This Championship, however, has not giving them the recognition they justifiably deserve. ‘All I know is that they are the National Champions in Division II last season,’ said Edwards. Stony Brook University does not have the team listed on the website or anything that makes incoming or current students aware that there is a roller hockey team on campus. However, after winning the National Championship David Hairston, the Dean of Students at Stony Brook University and the university held a luncheon for their accomplishment. At this event the team was awarded a plaque that was inscribed with the words National Champions. They also were able to have a float in this year’s home coming parade.

    The team is currently on a 34 game winning streak, which is the second longest streak in NCRHA history and they hope to repeat what they accomplished last season. The seasons run from October to March and then they have playoffs that could last until the beginning of April, if the team makes it to the National Championship.

    ‘It was definitely worth it, it’s a good time,’ said Gugliotta.

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