Back with another Sports Spotlight, and a very fitting one for this winter season. InQuire spoke with Ben Cohen, the Vice President/Co-President of UKC and CCCU Ice Hockey. He plays right-wing on the pitch, sometimes stepping in as goalie. Cohen tells us more about this underappreciated Sport below...
Q. What is ice hockey?
Cohen: It is a sport that is played on ice, it is a mixture of high-speed ice skating, with hockey and lacrosse all put into one. Lacrosse in the sense that there is contact, we don’t play full hitting league as it is a mixed team. But there is still contact. Ice hockey is played five on five and the rink is only so big, so there is going to be collisions. But, you are not allowed to skate 20 feet into someone and knock them over.
We don’t have BUCS but there are five leagues. We play in the division one, non-checking league. Division one, checking. Division two, checking. Division one, non-checking. Division two, non-checking. Division three, non-checking.
We also don’t have Varsity as our team is mixed with Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU). I’ve tried to grow it at CCCU, but they’re not as behind it yet. But if I, a CCCU player, can run the team, then people are CCCU can definitely get involved.
Q. How is the season going?
Cohen: It is up and down, we started the year with a loss of 4-1. A lot of our players are on years abroad so we do have a slightly weaker team this year. Our team was more stacked last year. We did bounce back with a 13-0 win against Birmingham. We lost to Southampton again 8-2, so it is changeable.
The team next year will probably be strong as players will be back from years abroad. We may even go into a hitting league, depending on members.
Q. Why is Ice Hockey not as popular as it could be?
Cohen: It is mainly that it is an expensive sport and that we train at crazy times, such as quarter past ten in the evening in Gillingham. The other week, we came back from a game against Birmingham at 6am. Our closest game is London, but our other away games are Southampton, Sheffield, Cardiff. However, we do have around forty members, fourteen of which are on the first team. We are hoping to enter two teams for upcoming tournaments.
Q. Is there a social side to the Sport?
Cohen: Not to the same extent as most times as it’s quite difficult because we have a 1st team and then development players. Most of our 1st team have played for years, whether that’s back home in Canada or Eastern Europe. And then development players have never played Ice Hockey. It is hard to mix the two groups, but we have a few socials coming up.
Q. How come the price and early trainings didn’t deteriorate you from joining Ice Hockey?
Cohen: For me, it was because I’ve only lived in the UK for three years and I used to play it back in Holland. I’ve always wanted to pick it up again because I’ve played it before. Soon as I heard there was a team, I knew I wanted to do it. Last year, two boys on the team came to the CCCU freshers fair so I signed up through that.
It’s a fun, new sport that hardly anyone knows anything about. It is about learning how to skate and making friends. The sport is so unpredictable. Football and cricket, you somewhat know who is going to win. But in ice hockey, you have no idea who is going to win.
The team train once a week in Gillingham ice rink, and play eight matches a year, often once every two weeks. They also play a national tournament at the end of the year. They also have beginning games against Gillingham.
Contact 'Kent Knights Ice Hockey' to get involved!