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Baylor roller hockey moving forward quickly

Nov. 16, 1999

By MIKE BLUM

Reporter

In its second season as a club sport, the Baylor Roller Hockey club has seen internal growth and organization come its way. The growth has helped the team to a 4-1-1 record in 1999, a third place tie in the league and a recently acquired volunteer head coach.

The club, started in 1998 along with the Baylor Ice Hockey club, is a fully recognized member of the Southwest Collegiate Hockey League. The league includes teams from every Big 12 school and from most colleges and universities in Texas, as well as teams from other schools in the region.

Last season, Baylor participated as an exhibition member of the organization and therefore had a limited schedule, but after a successful exhibition season, the club became eligible for its first season of regular play.

Bedford junior and roller hockey club member Bill Gardner said the club only played about five games last year but now plays two or four games every other weekend.

Although the squad was self-coached last year, Gardner said he was encouraged when he discovered a Waco businessman who had been a former professional hockey player and coach.

Last year, Gardner contacted Laddy Tresl, co-owner of Doc and Laddy's Family Fun Center, about possibly helping with the club.

'I talked to him when I was at Doc and Laddy's, and I said something about needing help,' Gardner said. 'When I went back to talk to him earlier this year, he said he'd be willing to help if we would be willing to listen and work.'

Tresl, a native of the Czech Republic, competed in the nation's highest leagues before defecting to Canada and eventually turning professional. He was drafted by the NHL's former Quebec franchise, the Nordiques, now the Colorado Avalanche, in 1986 and played for Quebec for four seasons before playing briefly with the Los Angeles Kings.

Tresl returned to the Czech Republic to play professionally in 1995. In addition to playing ice hockey in his native country, he coached the Czech Republic's national roller hockey team in 1995 and 1996. They placed fourth at the world championships in 1996.

Tresl retired in 1997 as a player/coach for the Waco Wizards after 20 years as a professional.

'I love hockey; it has been my life,' Tresl said. 'I wanted to give

back.'

Tresl is not paid and coaches the roller hockey team in his spare time. He said that the possibility of attracting attention to the sport by helping improve the team is enough incentive to coach.

'I wanted to help people get somewhere,' Tresl said. 'Who knows, maybe it [interest in the sport] will really take off one day.'

Tresl added that he hopes an interest in the sport might lead to Baylor to provide facilities for both the roller and ice hockey clubs one day. He mentioned that hockey was the fasting growing sport in the state of Texas.

As for his immediate goals with the Baylor Roller Hockey club, by season's end Tresl would like 'to see them play well together as a team and teach them some mechanics.'

The roller hockey club practices at a local skating rink, Skate Country in Bellmead, but does not have a home site for official play. As a result, the club is a 'traveling club' and always competes on the road. Quasi-tournaments, which involve a few teams from around the league playing each other at a host team's site, comprise most of the club's schedule.