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Bradley’s hockey club looks to increase fan base

Bradley’s hockey club has more goals in mind than the ones that hit the back of the net.

The players and coaches treat every game and every practice as if it is their last. They are Bradley University sponsored and play other universities. In some cases they compete against universities such as Western Illinois and Missouri State.

The head coach of the Braves, Kyle Steel, said he thinks his team ranks somewhere near the bottom of Bradley’s sports teams in terms of awareness and support.

He also said the commitment to the sport from his players has always been second to none.

“We certainly plan to improve the awareness and overall image of Bradley hockey,” Steel said. “Bradley Braves basketball is legendary and Peoria is a basketball town, so I do not see hockey becoming one of the major sports on campus any time soon.”

Steel said his ultimate goal for the hockey club is to continue to build winning teams and he hopes the winning creates excitement among fans.

That sentiment is shared by Matt Zarate, a senior goalie for the team.

Zarate said his ultimate goal is to lead the team to the playoffs and help start a winning tradition within the club.

Zarate also said he has received much more from the team as opposed to just the thrill of playing. He said the memories are great including the road trips which he called the best.

Zarate said most people do not know about the hockey team but people still come to the games and if the rink they play at was closer to the campus, he thinks more fans would come.