CCU’s ice hockey team continues to grow despite Grand Strand being without a rink

The team is 3-1 on the season.
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 11:05 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 10, 2022 at 10:31 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Coastal Carolina University’s ice hockey team is off to a 3-1 start this season, but it’s how far the team has to travel that shows how dedicated the players are to the sport.

“My parents have always loved hockey,” said Owen O’Brien, a sophomore from Boston. “My dad played growing up. So he wanted to keep that in the family. So he got me on skates when I was four years old. Learned to skate and to play hockey and I just fell in love with it ever since.”

O’Brien’s story is similar to most of the guys on Coastal Carolina’s club hockey team.

They grew up playing the sport but never thought when they decided to go to school at the beach, that hockey would continue to be such a big part of their lives.

“You love the sport,” said Luke Krupa, a senior from Vermont. “So it’s a huge commitment. It’s a big part of everybody’s life.”

That love for the game has shown on the ice. In the past two years, the guys have claimed back-to-back ACCHL titles.

“When I joined the team we were barely able to fill three lines to now this team has grown so big,” said Trent Labreqcue, a senior from New Hampshire. “We have 30 kids and everybody’s so committed to the team and it’s really incredible to see how this team has grown just in the 4 years I’ve been here.”

Since there’s no ice rink in the Grand Strand area, the team usually has to travel nearly two hours to either Wilmington or Charleston for both games and practices.

“There’s sometimes when we’re driving back from practice 10, 10:30 at night doing homework, sharing hotspots, everything like that,” said Brayden Barnes, a junior from Maryland. “It grows the brotherhood even more but obviously it would be crazy to have a rink around us and we got down the road rather than driving an hour, two hours away.”

Coastal Carolina’s next game will be against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday night in Irmo.