Roller Hockey Team Advances to National Championship
For the second year in a row, the Yeshiva University roller hockey team is heading to the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) Division II championship tournament. The tournament games will take place in Fargo, North Dakota on April 11-15th.
The team has won 13 out of the 18 games, ranking fifth in the ECRHA. As team captain Daniel Fuchs described, “the opportunity to play in the national tournament isn’t a common occurrence around here, so we’re wicked psyched to go play.” The team had humble beginnings, starting without funding from YU and without official NCRHA status. “This isn't something we've just been working on from the start of the season.,” stated team captain Joseph Robin. “For a lot of the guys, this chance at the national championship is the culmination of three full years of hard work.”
According to Yeshiva College Sophomore Yehoshua Segal, “what has so many fans flocking to the team is their underdog mentality, the prospect of a group of guys wanting a more robust hockey playing experience but with meager means is relatable to so many.” In 2016, the team climbed the ranks from Division IV to Division II of the NCRHA. This switch, according to Robin, “meant tougher opponents, a taxing schedule, and more grueling practices.” The team also has had to schedule all of its games for Sundays, as compared to the lighter load they would have, had Shabbat not been an absolute priority for the team. Having Sunday as the only playing day has resulted in as many as four back-to-back games on a given Sunday for the team.
The team's actions led to an article on the team in the New York Times last year entitled “Skating, and Scoring, for God’s Glory.” Describing the team overall, Fuchs commented, “We’re Yeshiva. Everything about us is different—our style of play, our work ethic, and even our schedule. We’re proud of who we are and what we represent, and we’ve gained the respect and admiration of many teams across the country for doing so.”