URI has always fielded a wide range of sports teams between the NCAA and Club levels, but no matter the sport they always seem to stay competitive. Since its creation in 1998, the Club Roller Hockey team is an organization that deserves more credit than they get. Competing at the Division 1 NCRHA level in the ECRHA region, they have made several national championship appearances including the last three consecutive years. They are led by coach and former player Dan Leonard and carry a roster 13 players.
After a strong 2014-15 campaign, this season was full of highs and lows for the powerhouse team. The finished with a #7 seed in the regional tournament and were eliminated in the pool play but because of their stellar track record at the national level, were lucky enough to receive another shot at the title. The team was centered around offensive leaders Will Lalor and Gil Lederhandler, along with defensive standouts Steve Falkowski and Kyle Alvanas.
This years tournament was held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from April 6th-10th and URI was lucky enough to send 8 of their 13 players. While talking to player Kyle Alvanas he spoke of his experience at this year’s tournament, “This year we really tried to make a push after still getting our bid. We came out of the pool play with some strong wins against University of Missouri and Texas Tech, and carried the momentum beating Temple in the round of 32.” They then went on to play the defending champions Neumann University in the round of 16 but came up just short to what ended up being the back-to-back champs.
Going to the National Championships for this team is unlike the many other NCAA sports URI fields because the budget and cost of the tournament fall on the team. The total combined budget for the team results in about $35,000 and there is only so much each player and their family can contribute. With limited resources the team turns to various fundraising campaigns and really value what it means to be college athletes that are also committed to public service.