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Formation of WCCC club hockey team hits roadblock

| Thursday, March 14, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Preliminary plans for a club hockey team at Westmoreland County Community College are under way, said Howard Harvey of West Newton, the organizer of the project.

Harvey's son, Calvin, a student at the school, has expressed a desire to play for a college team.

While Harvey said interest in the proposal was high, progress has slowed in an effort to the establish the club.

“What we're trying to do now is secure a school sponsor,” he said. “We've hit a little bump in the road. We've come to a bit of a dead end.”

Harvey said that, according to the school's student handbook, the club must be sponsored by an employee of WCCC. If one is secured, he said the project should be able to move forward in time for the 2013-14 season; he expected all other facets to be in place.

“It's my understanding that the sponsor needn't be hands-on,” Harvey said. “There will be a coach to handle the team.”

Proposals for club activities at WCCC are presented for review by the student activities office and ultimately the administration department, athletics director Dick Holler said.

“We've not received any formal requests from students for a club hockey team, but I did meet with the father,” Holler said. “There's many, many steps to the process before a team could be approved.”

There are no athletics included among the more than 20 club programs sponsored by WCCC, but college-level club hockey teams are prevelant throughout the region and funded almost entirely by their participants.

Harvey said he was exploring the idea of WCCC competing in College Hockey East, a Pittsburgh-based club sports hockey league comprised of colleges from Western Pennsylvania and surrounding areas. According to Harvey, if the plan goes through, WCCC home games would be played at The Ice Mines Family Fun Center in Connellsville in Fayette County, and players would be responsible for the purchase of equipment and facility rental fees.

“The guys have a coach lined up and a basic budget,” Harvey said. “There is a lot of high school and amateur hockey played in and around Westmoreland County. If WCCC had a club team, it would be another outlet for players to continue on in an affordable setting. It's very affordable to attend WCCC.”

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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