MSU Underwater Hockey Team hosts tournament Sunday
With fins flapping and water splashing, underwater hockey players from 10 different colleges and cities competed for fun and glory this weekend in MSU’s 12th annual Tournament of Love, held at IM Sports-West.
In underwater hockey, players drop a 3-pound puck to the bottom of a pool and use small sticks to push the puck into the opposing team’s goal.
The trick for underwater hockey players is to find a balance between staying underwater long enough to make plays and having enough breath to stay in the game, Underwater Hockey Club vice president and animal science junior Gabbi Simon said.
“It’s just like hockey, but at the bottom of the pool,” Simon said.
MSU has had an official underwater hockey team since 2000 and became its own club in 2006 after splitting from the MSU Scuba Club.
Facing tough competition from underwater hockey teams hailing from Canada, Chicago, Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Minnesota, George Mason University and the University of Illinois, MSU Underwater Hockey Team members split into two groups and placed seventh and eighth in the tournament, athletic training senior and Underwater Hockey Club treasurer Nick Anthony said.
For most on the team, the tournament was less about competition and more about having a good time with friends, so the tournament was an overall success regardless, Anthony said.
Anthony said team members are from all different majors and classes, but the community that’s built up because of underwater hockey has made many team members close friends.
“None of us would have ever met if we hadn’t played underwater hockey,” Anthony said. “Hockey brought us together.”
The tournament also gives those who play underwater hockey the opportunity to meet and strike up friendships with people from all over the country, agribusiness management senior and club president Andrew Braun said.
Ben Rumpke, a sophomore at Purdue University who plays for an Ohio underwater hockey team, said the tournament was a nice contrast to other underwater hockey tournaments because of the size and atmosphere.
“This tournament is one of the smaller ones,” Rumpke said. “It’s more relaxed, and it’s less strict on the rules, so it’s fun — we come every year.”
The Tournament of Love is something underwater hockey players in the Midwest enjoy on a yearly basis, Simon said.
“People look forward to it every year,” Simon said.
The underwater hockey team practices three times a week and plays in tournaments throughout the country.
Braun said anyone is welcome to play and encourages new participation.