The hockey club at California University of Pennsylvania has been in existence for many years, but its past history is certainly not one of great success and accomplishment. In 2002, however, that legacy was broken. That year, Jamison Roth teamed with advisor Chuck Bohn to breathe life into the forgettable program. What has happened since has been a rise to excellence that has placed Cal U among the top hockey programs in the region and nation. The future promises a bright future for Cal U Hockey.
Cal U joined the College Hockey East (CHE) for the 2002-03 season and immediately established itself as a team to be reckoned with by winning the 2003 CHE Provisional Tournament Championship. That same year, Cal U joined the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) at the Division III level. The CHE team(CAL 1) is still a member of CHE and ACHA today. The CHE currently consists of teams from western Pennsylvania and western New York, while the ACHA DII level is approximately 140 teams from colleges and universities across the nation. Cal U is currently the four time defending CHE conference champion (07,08,09, 10). The program also won the University’s first ever male national team championship, as the Vulcan’s won the 2008 ACHA Division III National Championship. The ACHA holds its annual national tournament every March at various locations across the country. California University of PA hosted the 2005 ACHA DIII National Championships in Pittsburgh where the team finished 7th overall.
Hosting the 2005 National Tournament in Pittsburgh went a long way in strengthening the relationship the hockey club has with the University. While the team is unable to provide scholarships to its players, the University does provide the team with the financial and academic support it needs to operate effectively. The club is still run by the players, who pay dues each semester and form a Board of Directors to oversee its operations.
After starting the 2002 season with only 12 players, the Cal Hockey Club has grown to over 60 men players strong, warranting the formation of a second men’s team. The Collegiate Hockey Association (CHA) was formed in 2004 with Cal U’s second team as one of four founding members. The purpose of the CHA team is to provide another level of play for Cal’s hockey players that isn’t quite as competitive and doesn’t require quite the same time commitment as the CHE team. That doesn’t mean the CHA team is just an afterthought, though, proven by its run to the CHA Championship Games in 2005 &2010 and first ever CHA Championship in 2012.
The 2008-09 season marked the inaugural season of our women’s program. The team accomplished unprecedented success in its first season by winning its regular season and playoff conference championships. In winning the regular season crown, the team finished with a perfect 10-0-0 conference record. The women participate in the Delaware Valley College Hockey Conference (DVCHC) and nationally in the ACHA Women’s Division II. The women’s team has now won a DVCHC Division II Championship in 2009 and the DVCHC Division I Championship in 2011. This past season the team qualified for the ACHA Division II National Tournament for the first time in club history.
All teams practice and play their home games at The Bladerunners Ice Complex in Bethel Park, PA. The rink is located about 30 minutes from campus. Cal Hockey also has many banners and posters throughout the rink to demonstrate this rink as the club’s home. The Cal logo is also painted in the ice for all spectators and players to view. Bladerunners hosts around a dozen CHE games, ten CHA games and 8-10 Women’s games each season, while each team plays about the same number of road games each year in preparation for their respective post-seasons.