This weekend, Jerry Remsbecker’s dream for the Kansas State inline hockey club will finally come to fruition.
His team will host a tournament.
“It is amazing, absolutely amazing,” said Remsbecker, who coaches the club team that hasn’t hosted a tournament in its 17-year history. “It was unheard of, unthought of when I got here.”
Remsbecker has been involved with the club since 1999, and during the past decade his team has been practicing in Junction City’s roller rink — the closest facility with the right accommodations for his 15-person team.
It’s different this year, though, with the recent expansion of K-State’s recreation complex.
Now the team has a multi-activity court (MAC) on its home campus to fulfill all its needs. The MAC allows the club the opportunity to host its first tournament as well.
“It’s the best facility in Kansas,” Remsbecker said. “It’s probably the best facility in the great plains, actually.”
And with the new facility, a new chapter of K-State inline hockey history will begin this weekend when K-State faces off against Maryville University at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
“I’m really excited for this weekend,” Travis Redeker, assistant director of Recreational Services at K-State said. “I’m excited for the guys on the team, because, as Jerry said, it’s just such a accumulation of years of hard work.”
Hard work is exactly what it has taken to keep K-State’s inline hockey club on the rink since 1996. In order to compete in previous years, Remsbecker and his team spent numerous weekends on the road traveling from St. Louis to Denver to Anaheim, Calif. — and that’s just to name a few places they competed.
Last year the club began to see its hard work pay off. For the first time since 2002, the team made it the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association final four in Salt Lake City.
With the new MAC gym and the ability to host tournaments, K-State hopes to continue growing and solidify its position among the top teams in the nation. That starts with another visit to the final four this season.
This weekend, Willie Wildcat will be making an appearance at the tournament to help get fans excited. Raffle tickets and door prizes will be given out, and free admission will give the community the opportunity to see the Rec’s new expansions.
Fans will also get the opportunity to get involved and get on the court to try shooting against K-State’s goalie during the tournament.
For Remsbecker and his team, having the opportunity to host a home tournament has been a dream for a long time.
“These guys are really dedicated — they work hard,” Remsbecker said about his team. “We are respected around the league, around the nation, and we have a history of, while we may not be the best team in the nation, we will give you a hard game. We play competitive hockey.”
Redeker said working with K-State’s club teams, especially inline hockey, is something special.
“I love working with (sports clubs) because they’re really just playing for the love of the game,” Redeker said, “It’s not for the fans coming out, or the publicity you get, it’s for the love of their sport, and these guys, especially after traveling multiple weekends just to play a game, now get the chance to play at home. It’s just going to be awesome.”
K-State plays three games on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. against Maryville, then at 1 p.m. against Missouri University of Science and Technology. At 3 p.m., K-State will face off against the University of Colorado—Colorado Springs. It has two games Sunday, playing Washington University (St. Louis) at noon, and Texas State at 2 p.m.
Remsbecker said both Texas State and UCCS are leading their leagues, so competition will be stiff against both those teams as well as K-State’s opener against Maryville.
“They’re the big dogs,” Remsbecker said. “But Maryville is only one point behind us in the standings, so Maryville is going to be tough. We’re sitting, right now, in the middle of the pack and it should be very good competition.”