Hockey finds growing support in students

From Newport Beach, Calif., this senior marketing major is more than just a student. In addition to being a member of the Brothers Under Christ Fraternity, Matt Benvenuti is also an elite in-line hockey player. He’s president of the In-Line Hockey club and was recently asked to play for an American In-Line Hockey League in Texas.

Q: What attracted you to in-line hockey?

A: Well, my friend moved in right next door to me and he kind of introduced me to hockey, and so I just played with him until I realized that it was something I really had a passion for. One of the local teams was in-line hockey. You know, we’re from Newport Beach, so there wasn’t as many ice hockey rinks around the area, so I just started playing with them. And the rink that I actually started playing in has one of the biggest in-line hockey rinks in North America. So playing with them, I had a really high level of competition and I just kind of stuck with that for the longest time.

Q: And, so you play here at TCU?

A: TCU has a club team too.I’m the president.

Q: Do a lot of your friends play too, or is it something that just you do?

A: Yeah, well, my roommate, Travis Brown, is one of our goalies. We’ve got about 10 guys. You don’t need as many players for in-line hockey, so it’s kind of a smaller group. A lot of people don’t even know that we have a team, but we’re getting a lot better. We’re just kind of in an exhibition basis, but we have a few games every once in a while. And we’re hoping that we get a few more fans to come out, but it’s good, it’s fun.

Q: What’s the most exciting thing about it for you?

A: It’s really fast. It’s a lot like ice hockey, but it’s a lot more speed based with a lot more finesse. There’s just a lot of times where it’s just really fun to play. It’s not really stopping, ever. It’s really fun sometimes when you make a highlight reel goal.or even when you make a big stop on defense or something like that.either way it’s just one of those things where you just get a rush and your like, “Wow! That was a lot of fun.”

Q: So, tell me a little bit about the Texas Terror team.

A: Texas Terror. It’s from the AIHL.American In-line Hockey League.I just got picked up by them a few days ago because they said they needed another player. And, so, I started playing on their minor league team, and in the first term they said they needed a few extra players, so they bumped me up to their elite team. I played okay, but I was really tired because I had to play for both teams during the weekends. So, I mean, hopefully I can do a little bit better next time. But I did get a game-winning goal for them, and I did decent in the minor league team. So, it was a lot of fun, and it was good to meet a few new guys.

Q: So, this is a big deal, and it’s fun for you.

A: Yeah, it’s a really big deal for in-line hockey especially because it’s just starting to get really popular. It used to be a lot more popular. They used to have the RHL, which was a professional roller hockey league that paid pretty well, but popularity died down a bit. They’re starting it back up again with these leagues, and maybe it’ll go somewhere, maybe it won’t. Hopefully it will though.

Q: Do you see a lot of students getting involved with in-line hockey, and these types of leagues?

A: Well, yeah there are a lot of different schools around the area that have a team. TCU’s team plays against UTA, UTD, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Abilene Christian and a few others. So, I’ve met a lot of people through that. They go to different schools, and I’ve actually hung out with a few of the guys in Louisiana on their way to the tournament in Mississippi, so it’s a pretty cool way to network around, and it’s just nice to meet some other hockey players.

Q: Is there anything else about you, or in-line hockey in general, that you’d like for other people to know about?

A: Yeah, well, in-line hockey is something that I’ve always enjoyed doing for the longest time. I just really wish more people knew about it and how exciting it was because everybody that ever comes out to games always enjoys it so much. It’s actually a lot faster than ice hockey because there’s one less player on the rink. There’s just people going full speed the whole time, and there’s a lot more goals so it doesn’t have the same minuses that ice hockey does, when people say there’s only one or two goals a game and stuff like that. So, it’s my favorite sport. I like playing ice hockey too, but in-line hockey’s pretty good.