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ASU Hockey is undefeated, but still has its challenges

Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 16:12

ASU Hockey

Michelle Hekle

ASU Hockey

When Ken Lind’s watch son started playing for the ASU hockey team six years ago, he never envisioned that someday he would be running the program.

“I wanted to sit back and watch my son play hockey,” Lind says.

However, the more and more he watched the team play, Lind knew he had to do something about it.

“I played basketball and baseball during my collegiate days, so I know how important those years are and the memories that are formed,” Lind says. “I was really disappointed where the program was heading, so I volunteered to get involved.”

Lind, now the General Manager with ASU hockey, handles all the off-ice aspects of the program.

“From making sure we have liability insurance, to agreements with the rink, game day operations, raising money—I am president of Sparky’s Kids (which is the financial funding arm for the hockey program),” Lind says.

Because ASU Hockey is technically not a part of the ASU athletic department, they don’t receive the funding other Sun Devil programs do. Therefore, they have to raise their own money.

“We get minimal support from ASU. We have a $500,000 a year budget for three teams to compete. We get $10,000 from the school, so the additional $490,000 has to be raised,” Lind says. “Part of that money is by collecting due from players, but we also have fund raisers, Super Bowl parties and go out to look for donors.”

Lind says this past year, the team also raised $250,000 to make additions to their home, Oceanside Arena. The renovations included a new locker room, lounge and workout facility.

With such a big budget and large amount of money invested in the arena, the ASU Hockey team is showing that they are worth every penny this season and is currently ranked number one in the nation.

“Well we are off to a great start. We are 19-0,” Lind says. “The record was set by us last year when we were 18-0. We have a terrific young team. We brought in 15 freshmen in a fabulous recruiting class, and we only graduated like 6 or 7 players.”

Last year, the team made the national semi-finals and even pulled off an upset against an NCAA team.

“We went to Penn State, shocked the hockey world and beat an NCAA program,” Lind says. “So the ACHA is getting better and better, so the difference between ACHA (American Collegiate Hockey Association) and NCAA is lessening every year.”

While the ACHA continues to improve, Lind thinks his team is doing the same.

“People who come to the game and know hockey are shocked, even people here in the Valley now,” Lind says. “When they come and see the level of play, they are shocked and amazed at the type of hockey being played in Oceanside Ice Arena.”

 Despite making a deep playoff run last season, Lind thinks this year’s squad is even stronger. The ASU Hockey program is arguably the most dominant sports force in the Valley, but Phoenix area fans haven’t taken too much notice quite yet.

“Here in the Valley, we are not known as much as we are outside the Valley,” Lind says. “When you talk about the hockey world about ASU hockey outside of Arizona, they know who we are and how good we are.”

You can visit sundevilhockey.com to check out upcoming game times. You can buy tickets at the door or online. Prices are listed as $10 for adults, $7 for students and $5 for children.

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