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Bethel Athletics to Begin In-line Hockey in Fall 2010

3/3/2010
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Continuing to provide opportunities for a growing student population Bethel University will be starting an in-line hockey program beginning in the fall of 2010. Bethel will be only one of four universities to offer hockey as a collegiate sport in the state of Tennessee and the only one to offer scholarship opportunities.

Bethel will compete in the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA). The NCRHA it made up of over nearly 200 teams and 2,500 players nationwide. Specifically, Bethel will be in the Southeastern Collegiate Roller Hockey League (SECRHL). Some potential teams Bethel could be playing against are: Auburn University, Emory University, The University of Florida, Florida State University, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, The University of Miami, Middle Tennessee State University, The University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, The University of South Carolina, and Virginia Tech.

The team will travel to a central site and play multiple games in one weekend that will count toward league standings. Most games will be played in Snellville, Ga. and in Taylors, S.C. Teams qualify regionally to play for the National Championship each year. The season starts in the fall and carries over to the spring.

With eight different in-line leagues in the state and multiple ice hockey leagues in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville there is plenty of talent in the state from which to recruit from.

Newly appointed head coach Matt Swinea is thrilled at the opportunity. "I am totally excited about hockey coming to Bethel and to West Tennessee," said Swinea. "This is going to be a great opportunity for many student-athletes to continue playing a sport they love. I am very thankful for the Bethel administration in making the decision to start this program and for the tremendous opportunity they have given me."

With the success of USA hockey in the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, interest in hockey is at its highest level since the 1980 Miracle on Ice. It is Coach Swinea's hope that interest in the sport will grow into the unfamiliar territory of McKenzie, Tenn. and Bethel University in much the same way.

Players interested in being a part of the team should contact Matt Swinea at 615-210-7158 or via email swineama@bethel-college.edu.