Bragging Rights: Mason’s Underwater Hockey Team Competes in National Championships

Posted: July 1, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: June 30, 2011 at 8:29 pm

By Lea Lubag

Diving mask, snorkel and swim fins — this is hockey on a whole new level. Below the surface, that is.

For those unfamiliar with the sport, underwater hockey is a cross between hockey and soccer, where players in a swimming pool maneuver a lead puck using a short stick known as a “bat” or “pusher.”

This past weekend, Mason’s coed 10-member club team competed in the USA Underwater Hockey 2011 U.S. National Championships hosted by the Los Angeles Underwater Hockey Team.

Mason finished eighth overall out of 16 teams. The Los Angeles team won the tournament, which took place at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center in Santa Clarita, Calif., from June 24 to 26.

According to a press release posted on Cincinnati.com, participating college teams included the University of Florida, Michigan State University, the University of Illinois, the University of Minnesota, the University of North Carolina and Georgia Tech University. Community teams from Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Calif., San Diego, Seattle and New Jersey also participated.

Andrew Creedon, Mason Underwater Hockey Team Club captain, says it was the “best showing Mason has had.”

“This is the first time Mason has ever made it into the A division at nationals,” he says. “We played and beat all the B division teams, and then played our way into the A division. We also had a lot of new players with us.”

Creedon feels their biggest strength is their teamwork.

“Underwater hockey games are not won through individual efforts,” he says. “Over the past year we’ve developed into a very strong team. We’re able to trust and understand what each person is going to do. We function as a team, and we win as a team.”

Justin Vollmer, Mason’s Underwater Hockey Team Club president, says the hardest part of the sport is stamina.

“For the first two weeks, it’s absolutely awful learning to hold your breath. But then after that, it’s just about learning the moves,” he says.

Vollmer says he hopes other students will join so they can send two full teams to nationals next year.

More information about Mason’s Underwater Hockey Team can be found on their website.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu