No one is allowed on Bird Arena’s ice yet.
Not the Bobcats hockey team or the Athens Youth Hockey Association. Not even the university’s broomball classes.
“There’s no insulation, that’s the problem,” Ohio coach Sean Hogan said. “It’s just a big tin building with bricks and a tin roof.”
The consistently hot and humid weather has kept the ice from freezing to a proper depth. Hogan wants it to freeze to almost an inch and a half, but for now, it’s at about an inch thick.
He hopes the ice will be ready by Sunday, in time for youth hockey, and then be available for the Bobcats’ open tryouts next week.
High turnout expected at open tryout
When Ohio hosts its three-day tryout next week, Hogan expects more players than usual will compete for the limited spots remaining on his roster.
Hogan said 75 players registered at an information meeting, which includes players on the Bobcats’ Division II team.
Two players have been selected at both open tryouts the past two seasons. If two more are chosen this year, they’ll likely be defensemen because that has become a sudden need for Ohio.
Two defensemen from last year’s team have left the program indefinitely.
Trent Johnson left after just one season, in which he played 32 games and registered 13 points. Graham Harwood, who played 45 games over three seasons, now goes to Cleveland State, according to Hogan.
The tryouts will run from Monday through Wednesday, and Hogan says he will make his decision shortly thereafter.
Bobcats submit broadcast bid to ESPN
The American Collegiate Hockey Association announced it has partnered with ESPN to produce and broadcast a “Game of the Week” on Fridays throughout the season beginning Oct. 7.
ESPN will host 16 games from October through February on one of its feeds, likely either ESPNU or online at ESPN3. Ohio plays at home nine of the 16 dates, and Hogan submitted a bid saying Ohio is capable to host any of those games.
“Step in the right direction, man,” he said.
As a team consistently in the national rankings, Ohio stands a good chance to get at least one host opportunity. For example, the Bobcats will host Lindenwood, the reigning national champion, on the first weekend of December.
Selected hosts won’t owe any broadcasting fees to ESPN, but they will be expected to provide hospitality to the crew during games, including food and drinks.