Georgia club hockey team ‘exciting’ despite relative obscurity

By GABE RAM

Since the departure of the state’s professional hockey team, the Atlanta Thrashers, some Georgia hockey fans have struggled to find a team to champion. The Georgia Ice Dogs, a club hockey team, hope to fill that gap and add to the hockey culture of the South.

“Georgia has had a hockey program for 25 years now, but no one really knows about it” Georgia head coach John Hoos said.

Part of their plan has been an extremely aggressive advertising and marketing strategy, with the intention to interact and engage with fans.

“We have ads with 960 A.M. the Ref, that air on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, along with several other things this season,” Hoos told his players during a preseason meeting on Thursday night. “We are also doing something that no hockey team has ever done before; we are participating in [UGA] Picture day. All the other varsity sports will be there, we are the only non-varsity sport that will be there.”

Going into his 13th season as head coach, Hoos has adopted the marketing approach to generating interest and publicity. The players though are just excited to take the ice again for another season.

“I am excited every time I take the ice,” senior right-winger Henry Oddi said. “Whether I am skating, hitting someone or shooting the puck, it’s all exciting and a lot of fun.”

One way Coach Hoos motivated his players for the upcoming season was to schedule a match against an in-conference rival — Auburn.

“Our rivalries are just as competitive on the ice as they are off the ice, in the football and basketball programs,” Hoos said. “We have a great program with a great group of guys that are professional, but extremely competitive and want to win. They are excited for the start of the season and we can’t wait to take the ice for the first time.”

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Georgia soccer team enters season opener with No. 25 ranking

By NICHOLAS FOURIEZOS

The Georgia soccer team was placed at No. 25 in the Top Drawer Soccer “Tournament 64” rankings, according to a statement released Thursday by Georgia sports communications.

Georgia finds itself in select-SEC company, as one of five teams from the conference ranking in the preseason tournament field.

Texas A&M was ranked the highest among the conference schools, at No. 5, while No. 14 Florida, No. 23 LSU and No. 31 South Carolina were also included.

Among Georgia’s other accolades from the preseason was being picked to finish second in the SEC East by the coaches, and also being named a ‘Program to Watch’ by Top Drawer Soccer before that.

The Bulldogs will open the 2012 season against UNC Greensboro, at 7 p.m. at the UGA Soccer Stadium.

Check in online tomorrow night for a full recap of their opening match.