The University doesn’t care about Ice Hockey

The University only cares about the mainstream sports which earn prestigious BUCS points, says Ice Hockey player Jack Baveystock

When I first visited Freshers’ Fair, I was given the false impression that the University was passionate about encouraging students to participate in a wide range of sports and extra-curricular activities.

After three years of competing in sports and representing Notts in a range of events, I have unfortunately learnt that this is not true. All the University really cares about are the mainstream sports which are able to earn prestigious BUCS points.

We all love Ice Hockey, but the AU don't

We all love Ice Hockey, but the Uni doesn’t

The sports that win the most BUCS points are football, field hockey and rugby. Those others that do not win enough points at the end of the season either suffer the cuts of team members or funding. Both, of course, are integral to the running of the sport.

Let me be clear before I go any further; this article is not a dig at mainstream sports, it is just revealing the main flaw of the Sports Department in that they simply don’t seem to give enough of a damn about other sports.

Whilst attempting to remain modest, I am a high level player. I am part of the Nottingham University Mavericks A team who play in the country’s top league. I play semi-professionaly for Nottingham Lions and last Christmas I got picked for the GBR men’s Ice Hockey Team at the Winter University Olympic Games in Trentino, Italy.

This was a fantastic opportunity that simply couldn’t be missed. Unfortunately, however, the fact that Ice Hockey isn’t a BUCS sport meant that my team and I from Nottingham Uni received no help whatsoever from the Sports Office. Worse still, the cost of this amazing experience was a whopping £1,070 in total per player. But the Uni didn’t pay a thing.

I don’t doubt for a second that if I was an equally talented footballer with the opportunity to represent the fine institution of Nottingham University, they would have done anything to support me as a student athlete (as long as they can later reap the rewards). I guess I just chose the wrong sport, eh?

The Uni is happy to advertise our success, it's a shame that they had nothing to do with it...

The Uni is happy to advertise our success, it’s a shame that they had nothing to do with it…

Do you recognize this photo? It was used on the portal’s homepage for two weeks. It is despicable that the Uni milks the success of the team for all we’re worth but is completely unprepared to offer us any financial support.

Another complete scandal is the Varsity Ice Hockey.

The competition itself is better than Christmas, and winning against Trent in front of a sell-out crowd twice in a row is without a doubt the best experience of my university life so far. At its core, the Varsity series is all geared towards charity. The Ice Hockey event is the biggest donor: it’s a 7,000 seated sell out arena at £7 a ticket – you do the maths.

Winning twice in a row at Varsity was amazing

Winning twice in a row at Varsity was amazing

The ticket sales alone for these events don’t cover the cost of renting out the Notts County stadium. So the uni must fund these varsities, instead of finding a more affordable venue for these events, and subsidises those players’ travel, equipment and training venues. We however, get nothing.

With this in mind, how is it fair that the ice hockey players who participate in the biggest event of the year still have to pay £10 per training session weekly, as well as £20 per game (including Varsity)?

Perhaps if I was this guy I'd have everything paid for me...

Perhaps if I was this guy I’d have some support…

The sad reality is that this doesn’t look likely to change anytime in the near future. Unless every sport gets BUCS points for the university, the Uni is unlikely to change its policies. If you happen to play a niche sport that doesn’t get the University points, consider your savings before you dedicate yourself to getting good.