Junior Hannah Deacon has always loved playing hockey.
When the longtime Detroit Red Wings fan was younger she took to the streets to play and in high school she played ice hockey for Northville.
But now, she is one of a number of Central Michigan University students who have paid a steep price to continue to participate in sports by playing at the college club-level.
Deacon has to pay $1,000 for the season fee to play for the women’s club ice hockey team.
The fee covers what the Isabella Community Events Arena charges to use the ice for practices and games, and the amount of money required for referees, jerseys and travel is also included.
The team has to pay $160 an hour for ice time and $350 for games. The club practices two hours per week, and it has 12 home games this season.
Deacon, the president of the women’s hockey club, said she wished CMU would lend more funding to her sports club, which she said is one of the costliest club sports.
Nottingham is the one who decides how to disperse the money allotted to club sports.
“I try to make it as fair and equal as possible,” she said.
This past year she was given $17,000 from the Campus Program Fund to allocate to the CMU club sports teams.
How much of the money each team is given is based on the budget it submits.
They also have opportunities to earn extra money by turning forms in on time, and they can apply for more money if they go to a national competition.
Time is also a factor for students participating in club sports. Deacon said the average player spends six hours a week playing hockey.
She puts even more time toward the sport as the team president.
But all in all, it’s worth it.
Central Michigan student Sheree Christian eventually thought the time that she had to invest in a club sports team, and the cost, was not worth it.
The four-sport athlete in high school was a part of the club lacrosse team for three years at CMU.
“I played sports all of my life,” Christian said. “I couldn’t give it up.”
But she finally did give it up when her schedule became too full, and she could not afford the $400 yearly fee the lacrosse team charged.
“It was more like a high school sport,” Christian said. “You had to be dedicated. You had to give up your time and devote a lot of time to the team.”
Christian said the team atmosphere was what she got must out of the experience.
“You become a big family, so that was kind of nice,” she said. “We traveled everywhere, and we got really close.”
Deacon echoed her thoughts. She calls her teammates her “besties.”
“It’s something I love,” Deacon said. “I think it’s great to have a group of girls to hang out with.”
Anyone could see the team chemistry the club hockey team has before they even took the ice for their twice-weekly practice at 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 29.
There was one puck lying on the hockey foosball table outside the doors to the rink that charged quarters to play, and they took the opportunity to stage a showdown.
Goalkeeper Amanda Steffey faced off against another player, and the team surrounded them and hooted and hollered until the game came to close with one goal scored.
Soon after, they were off to put on their practice jerseys and listen to the instructions from their head coach, Mike Jankowski, and goalie coach, Colin Beck.
Jankowski took a break from ice hockey as a young adult, but felt the game pulling him back, and started coaching again, he said.
“It never got out of my system,” he said. “Now, I love to teach the game.”
He has played hockey for most of his life on the ice, streets and his backyard when he was younger and is informed about the money players have to invest to remain on the ice rink.
“I know the price of hockey is steep,” Jankowski said. “I know it’s getting harder and harder for parents to fund their children to play the game, which is disappointing, but the sport gets into your blood, and you love it so much you will do anything to see your kids play.”
Play, Deacon will.
“It’s fun to play,” Deacon said. “It’s fun to be competitive.”