Bros icing bros

I’m going to come clean: I’ve always thought a Viking was an odd choice for Portland State’s official mascot.

I’m going to come clean: I’ve always thought a Viking was an odd choice for Portland State’s official mascot. Now, before anyone accuses me of heresy or marks me as a traitor, let me make it clear that I have nothing but love for our Viking mascot. Vikings are hyper-masculine with their muscles, beards, cumbersome weapons and mead. A Viking is also perhaps the most metal mascot a school could have, and I appreciate this. So yes, I do in fact like the Viking as our mascot. My beef with the Viking is that Portland seldom has any snow or ice. The entire Pacific Northwest is known for being miserable and rainy three quarters of the year.

Can anything make the Viking really “fit” Portland State? Until last week I didn’t think so, but then I found a dark secret hidden in the Campus Rec facility: We have an ice hockey team.

Vikings ice hockey has actually been active since 2007, but few people are aware of the team’s existence (heck, here I am, the fitness columnist, and I didn’t even know). The team regularly competes throughout Oregon and Washington, and occasionally plays in California and Idaho as well. They’ve traveled as far as Arizona in the past.

Life on the road isn’t always glamorous as it sounds though. Club president and teammate Stephen Printup, 24, recalls a mishap on the road that could have turned out quite ugly.

“I remember in the first year, when we played in Arizona, the oxygen censor was faulty on the Zamboni. This led to the rink filling up with carbon dioxide, but no one knew about it. Everyone was getting dizzy and throwing up, but we were able to finish the game. When we were in the showers, all of a sudden there were firemen dressed in gas masks telling us to get out of the building immediately. We were all naked and it was really funny because it wasn’t until then that we realized that something was wrong. I remember looking around and seeing people lying down and everyone being really sick. When we got outside everyone felt better, but it was kind of surreal.”

Though Portland State lacks an ice rink, the team hasn’t let that hold them back one bit. They regularly meet to practice on the upper floor of the Campus Rec facility. Skates are substituted for inline skates or just plain old sneakers.

The team also takes full advantage of the weight and cardio equipment available at Campus Rec. After all, hockey isn’t a sport for slouches. Most teammates are in the gym at least four days per week, in addition to the practice and travel schedule.

The team will be having tryouts for new members in the fall, but those that make the cut also have $2,500 to pay in team dues for the season. Members are required to meet the usual university GPA requirements and must be enrolled for at least nine credits. In addition, current or former semi-pro players aren’t allowed to compete in the league. For those who can’t manage the price tag, or just aren’t ready for such a serious commitment, the team also welcomes students to participate in the practices.

Unfortunately for my readers, my journalistic timing isn’t so great. The 2010–11 season has already concluded, but the 2011–12 season is scheduled to begin in late September. The team is hoping to bring in more fans this coming season. They’d sure appreciate some more support as they fight to achieve a national ranking for Portland State.

The team is not only interested in exploring avenues to promote the team and their games, but they’re also looking to gain more fans and talented players. For those interested in knowing more about Portland State Vikings ice hockey, Stephen Printup can be reached at [email protected]. ?