U hockey team looking for a successful sophomore season

By By Jason Peterson

By Jason Peterson

Jason PetersonStaff Writer

Jason Petho has no doubts about how the U hockey club will compete this year. He’s not talking about the final scores or the team’s record at the end of the season. The only thing under complete control is the effort the club will put forth in each game.”It’s all or nothing,” he said.What have they got to lose anyway, right? A lot, actually.Petho, a New Jersey native who teamed with fellow colleague J.M. LeCointre last summer to revive U’s hockey program, knows the team is still picking up the pieces from its fall in 2003.Due to several code violations against the RMCHA — a regional hockey league separate from the NCAA — the program shut down indefinitely.The team struggled in its comeback campaign last year but the real story is this: They’re back and they plan to do more than just stick around this season.”We feel like we have a well-balanced team,” Petho said. “We don’t have just one or two stars that other teams can focus on and shut down.”This year’s crop has been assembled over the last six weeks through a series of tryouts. The 24 players selected so far come from all walks of life, including Switzerland’s Raphael Blesi, a former member of the Swiss Junior National team and a local talent in Michael Vrtis, who opted to join the Utes in favor of Division-III competition.Petho hopes this season will help to solidify the U’s hockey program for years to come. It would certainly help to win a few games first, and Petho intends to do just that.The season begins September 7th and the club will generally play on weekend evenings at the Steiner ice rink just off campus.While official tryouts are over, there are still a few roster spots available for anyone who wants to showcase their skills at the last minute. Petho — the team president — can be contacted through the club’s new website www.uofuhockey.com.

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