(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
In the case of Greg Powers and Sun Devil Hockey, the second-year program has not forgotten its roots.
While the team has played in such venues as Gila River Arena, Matthews Arena and Compton Family Ice Arena to name a few, Powers maintains that much of the team still prefers to play in the same arena they’ve been in since the ACHA club days.
Its capacity is just under 800 people and the answer may come as a surprise.
“We actually like playing at Oceanside,” Powers said. “It’s our home, the kids are comfortable playing there. We enjoy it, we enjoy playing there and, generally, they play pretty well [at Oceanside]. Gila River is great, we’re appreciative of the opportunity to play out there, but it still doesn’t really feel like a home game.”
Since the transition to the NCAA ranks, the Sun Devil hockey team has continued to transition from Oceanside Ice Arena. With the plans for a new, permanent venue looming, a transition from the humble rink is not far off.
Still given the history of the team and the role that the Tempe-based arena has played in it, that move might not be as easy as some think.
“We want to play in the east valley as much as we can,” Powers said. “We’re appreciative, again, and we go out and play our last game in Glendale this Friday and then the rest are in Tempe so we’re happy about that.”
This Friday in Glendale, the Sun Devils will welcome their fifth-straight ranked opponent, No. 11 Michigan, to Gila River Arena for the team’s last contest at the venue this season.
This season, Arizona State boast an underwhelming 1-7-0 record, its lone win coming against Air Force on Oct. 16.
Based off of his early impressions of his team’s next opponent, that second win isn’t going to get any more attainable against the Wolverines.
Not to mention, Michigan is coming off of a down weekend.
“Good team, really no different than what we’ve seen,” Powers said. “They’re all top-20 teams and they’re going to be hungry, unfortunately, they just dropped two out east to Vermont and Dartmouth over the weekend. So they’re going to be coming in really hungry, you want to get when they’re winning.
“With the experience that they have and the history that Michigan has, after getting swept, they’re going to come in extra hungry and not overlook us, so we’ll have to be ready.”