Illini hockey remains homeless for September

The Illinois Ice Arena is closed, leaving the Illini Hockey Club without a place in Champaign-Urbana to practice.

The Illini Hockey Club is without a home — at least for the month of September. 

With the Ice Arena shut down due to mechanical issues, the team has held its first six practices in Bloomington and currently plan to practice in Danville for the duration of September.

The team, being a club sport, doesn’t receive money from the athletic department. Instead, it relies on revenue from home games and money out of the players’ pockets.

Holding practice at different sites places a heavy financial burden on the club and its players.

Not only will the club be spending much more to reserve ice time than they do at the campus rink, a heavy burden also gets put on the players who will have to drive themselves the 34 miles to Danville for all of the team’s practices.  

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“(The financial impact) is a pretty big deal for us,” head coach Nick Fabbrini said. “We’re trying to figure out ways to help meet our budget, whether it’s different fundraising activities or cutting costs.”

Aside from dealing with the financial issues, Fabbrini is still focused on coaching hockey in an important offseason for a new-look Illini team. With the season-opening scrimmage on Sept. 12, Fabbrini is trying to replace seven seniors, including John Scully, the team’s leading scorer, with a highly touted freshman class.  

“This year, we’ve got some older freshmen, some guys that have a lot of junior experience, and I expect that to translate to our league very well,” Fabbrini said. “Those guys are going to come in and have a big impact for us.”

The Illini especially need help on offense. 

“We need to score a lot more goals this year,” Fabbrini said. “That translates directly out of practice. If you’re hungry to score goals in practice, it’s going to carry over to games.” 

Brett can be reached at [email protected]

and @Blerner10.