Lindenwood: The Real Story
I would like to introduce myself, Mark Abney(co-founder of the Lindenwood roller hockey program), and I am speaking on behalf of Derek Schuab, head coach, and the Lindenwood University roller hockey program. A little history of our program: This is our fourth year in the CRHL experiencing the low of finishing last in our region to the high of winning the national championship. Our first year we were 4-17 and that summer our school questioned their support of the team, so I knew we had to go out and get better. Lindenwood University is a $17,000 a year institution and that first recruiting class did not receive any scholarships and attended school on student loans. They came because we sold them on the idea of being a part of a team that could win a national championship. That second year we finished second in the country, so we went back to work. I told the school we needed a full-time coach for a full-time job. Derek Schaub came aboard and led us to a national championship. And then like every offseason we went out and tried to make ourselves better. We want to be the best, so we are going to use every avenue that we have worked very hard to open to our every advantage.
I would like to now tackle the issues of our school's academic standards and our "scholarships." Our school is a fully accredited university. Our student-athletes must enroll in 15 credit hours a semester and complete at least 12. They must also carry a 2.0 GPA to be eligible to play. Our players are varsity athletes and are held strictly to those standards. We have 2 All-Americans from last year's national championship team that were ineligible academically because their GPA's dropped below 2.0. According to CRHL guidelines they could have still played, but our university put them on academic suspension. This is a perfect example of why we felt it was important to recruit for depth in the program. We are not a NCAA division I school so we do not hand out scholarships, but we give out money on financial need of the family and talent based awards. These awards can be from athletics, to art, music, or theatre. In the beginning we had no talent awards to give out, but through hard work we were able to use partial awards and now larger award amounts. To dispell any rumors, none of our student-athletes are under full scholarship. We have a player on our varsity roster who two years ago had to decide between Michigan St. or Lindenwood. He would have payed less to stay in state at Michigan St., but he sided with Lindenwood because he wanted to be a part of a pro-active program that was moving in a positive direction to allow himself to become a better hockey player and get his degree. This past summer our head coach, Derek Schaub and Michigan St.'s head coach, Rejean Tremblay, attended the junior national team selection camp. Lindenwood walked away with seven guys from that selection camp while Michigan St. didn't get one. The theme here is you have to be active, have a plan to sell your program and your university. I remember at last year's national tournament we had a meeting discussing the premier division. Derek and I spoke strongly on having strict academic standards set for the elite league, setting up programs to help schools promote their teams to their universities, and help teams in respect to recruiting. Instead the CRHL wanted to talk about face shields, tape on your pants, and marketing ourselves to Coca-Cola. We have nothing to market to Coca-Cola right now, maybe one school is on the right track, but the division as a whole has no legs to stand on.
Just speaking on my own opinion, not that of our head coach or university, but I feel this league was created for some guys to get together and play hockey on the weekends. They wanted it to get bigger and started throwing around the idea of NCAA affiliation. Now this would take some serious efforts on behalf of an executive committee and the teams themselves. We, at Lindenwood, have built our program close to that level, no thanks to our leaders at the CRHL, but we are being chastized because we are to good and we don't play fair. If schools and I mean schools, want help or ideas, we want to help because we can't survive without the other teams. The simple fact is the premier division is the right step for college roller hockey, the players who play today and the players of the future deserve the chance to play under the NCAA. We are a perfect example of selfless dedication. If the NCAA said tomorrow that college roller hockey was a NCAA sport, we could not participate because our university is not affiliated with the NCAA. We are working for this not because we are cocky and want to win, but we want the idea of college roller hockey to win. We can make this happen, but each team has to take it upon themselves to want to make this happen.
I was reading on one of the other posts from "bonesy" about our "chippy style and cocky play." I appreciate his sentiments that he doesn't despise us over our efforts to improve our team, but I do take offense to our "chippy style and cocky play." We had a situation earlier in the year in a game versus Purdue where one of our guys took a blatant run at a guy from behind and fought him. That player is no longer on the team because we do not condone those actions. We had another instance where one of Michigan St.'s best players took a run at one of our smallest guys into the boards head first. We took the four minute power play, but in the next game Derek Schaub wanted to send a message to that player that the action he took in the game before would not be tolerated, so instead of using our stick or hitting him from behind we challenged him to prove his toughness with a fight. As our guy started to fight, he turtled and we saw how tough he was. This is hockey ladies and gentlemen, it is an aggressive game and you can ask any player in the NHL if they would rather get hit by a stick in the face or a fist in the face, they would choose the fist(just ask Donald Brashear). Our players are very proud of our program and they deserve to be for the efforts they have put forth and if that is being cocky, well then I apologize on their behalf.
The Lindenwood University roller hockey program has worked very hard to get to the point where we are today. We appreciate the help and dedication we receive from our university, and we want to be pro-active in the success of the premier division because it is the right step for college roller hockey. We would appreciate and encourage any open discussion of our program or ideas we used to help promote ourselves. If you have any questions or would like to attend Lindenwood University please call or e-mail Derek Schaub at (636) 949-4945 or [email protected].
Thanks for your time