What is left for hockey?

Published 11:51 am Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dear Editor,

So what does a parent say to their 8-year-old son, an avid hockey fan, when he asks when being put to sleep, “Mom, why is ice hockey always under attack in Alabama?” You may wonder what my son Aaron knows at age 8, but he knows a lot.

He still asks about Pelham Mayor Murphy’s decision regarding the Pelham ice rink and the outcome and contemplates if it will ever close permanently.

He also jokes about the idea of turning the rink, a place he considers home, into a fire museum.

Of course, he has heard his parents and other skating fans talk about these issues and challenges.

But he has real concerns for a sport he and many others love.

Seven months later, yet another sting to a young boy, this time in Hunstville with interim president Dr. Malcolm Portera’s announcement that the NCAA Division I hockey program will be eliminated, replaced by a club team. Baffled by the news about the UAH Chargers, I saw his anger and confusion along with inquisitive questions: “Why did this interim man decide this? Did he do his homework? Does he know that UAH hockey is the only Division I program in the South? Can’t he try to help the Chargers succeed rather than drop them to club level?”

Challenged, I attempted to explain budget constraints.

He was somewhat listening, but I realized all an 8-year-old wants to know is why and what is left for him and his friends to aspire to in Alabama hockey.

Many may argue it’s illogical to have a nationally competitive intercollegiate ice hockey program at a smaller institution in Alabama.

Others have questioned Portera’s true understanding of UAH hockey to the University.

No one can deny that he eliminated a unique identity to the university and did not show much interest in trying to save the team.

It’s ironic that all this happened right after my son went to his first Charger game against Bowling Green two weeks ago.

My son’s last thought: ”Mom, when the new guy comes to replace (Porteras), can his successor reverse his decision?” Proudly, I told him I love him, that is optimistic thinking and we will continue to advocate all we can, but I can’t make any promises.

Amy and Aaron Sedlis

Mountain Brook