Ice hockey prides itself on toughness

To coach Jerry Roberts, the fact that Temple ice hockey is a club sport leaves something to be desired.

“I think not being a part of the NCAA puts a chip on everybody’s shoulder,” Roberts said. “We want to win just as much as any collegiate team, and we play like it day in and day out.”

“We try really hard to change the way people think about the label of ‘club sport,’” Roberts added. “Just because we aren’t a high profile NCAA team doesn’t mean we aren’t legitimate.”

Roberts hopes his enthusiasm and attitude can drive Temple toward the success it enjoyed two seasons ago, one that yielded the only national tournament berth in team history.

After a 2011-12 season that ended with a 5-0 defeat to Penn State in a Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association divisional semifinal, the Owls are backed by several returning core players in search for a deeper playoff run this upcoming season.

“We have a lot more depth this year,” Roberts said. “This team is similar to the team that went to nationals two years ago. We have three or four lines of offense capable of scoring every game, and we have a deep defense as well this year. When you have the depth that we do, it really helps in those later months when guys get banged up.”

Although Roberts is optimistic about the upcoming season, there are areas of the team that have proved to be problematic in the past, and need to be addressed.

“One thing that we are really pushing this year is physical and mental toughness,” Roberts said. “We were soft at times last year and it really hurt us. We want our players to push themselves more and play with more confidence.”

While a chance to get back to the national tournament is important, Roberts’ goals go beyond the win/loss column.

“We want every team that we play against to see us as a tough team,” Roberts said. “At the end of the day, win or lose, we want to be thought of as the team that outworked and outplayed you from start to finish.”

Drew Parent