Iowa women's club hockey team seeks participants

BY BEN ROSS | MAY 02, 2013 5:00 AM

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Female students will be able to participate in a new club sport for the first time in the history of Iowa next year: women’s hockey.

Three students, Justin Kripalani, Brianna Salmi, and John Stumpf, organized and set up a program that will allow female students represent the university on ice. The trio has scheduled an informational meeting for those interested in the club this evening in 259 IMU. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

Kripalani, a member of the men’s club team, will be the president of the women’s club next season. He said the presence of the men’s program — which has been on campus since 1974 — begged for the addition of a women’s side.

“With the success of the men’s program here over the years, we wanted to have something else run alongside it,” Kripalani said.  “We have two men’s teams [Division-II and Division-III] and no women’s team. For every sport there’s a men’s and women’s counterpart, so we thought, ‘Why not?’ We want to spread our sport and show Iowa hockey is something.”

The team will begin holding practice in August to prepare for the season. It will compete independently against other clubs, such as Iowa State and Illinois, with the hopes of joining the American Collegiate Hockey Association in 2014. Both of Iowa’s men’s teams belong to the organization.

Kripalani said that current coach’s on the men’s side will help with the instruction duties on the women’s side, and some men’s players may help with their female counterparts as well.

“If we have the opportunity, we’re more than willing to help out,” men’s club president Dave Svac said. “I know there’s guys in the program interested in doing so.”

The women will likely play and practice on the same rink the men use — the one at the Coral Ridge Mall.

Svac said that the addition of the women’s club could possibly help the push for developing NCAA Division-I hockey programs at Iowa, since adding a women’s club fulfills Title IX requirements and shows that playing puck is a popular commodity on campus.

The Big Ten will form its own hockey league starting in the 2013-14 season. The league will feature six teams; Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Penn State. Next season will be the first time Penn State will compete at the Division-I level; its club hockey team was recently upgraded.

Ideally, Kripalani said that the club would feature at least 10 participants, and one goalie in its first year, with two goalies being ideal.

And, even though participation is down overall with women’s intramurals on campus, a women’s club hockey team shouldn’t have much of a hard time creating a presence on campus.

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