#TBT: the infamous Physical Plant-Roller Hockey beef of ’95

During 1995, Truman State University had a Cold War-esque conflict between the roller hockey team — and yes, there was a roller hockey team — and the Physical Plant Office.

For about eight years, Kirk Gym used to be open for anyone wanting to play hockey, including the roller hockey team until fall 1995 when the gym — in pretty bad shape at the time — got a new lacquer floor. The roller hockey team was barred from practicing in the gym by the Physical Plant director, who said the players had caused excess amount of damage to the gym floor, stage and windows with their flying pucks.

Gene Schneider, then Physical Plant director, said hockey was mainly to blame for the damage and used that as grounds to kick the roller hockey team out.

“Skating in the gym caused a lot of damage,” Schneider said in the Sept. 14, 1995, issue of The Index. “There was 10 times more damage after we started allowing skating in Kirk. They broke glass, damaged tables and broke plywood parts of the stage. Hard pucks do that.”

The roller hockey team agreed that the gym was damaged, but disagreed on just how much of that damage was caused by their team.

“I don’t think the quality of the gym got any worse while we were there,” said Kevin Joseph, then hockey club vice president, in the Sept. 14, 1995, issue of The Index. “The wheels used by the members of the team are made for indoors and outdoors. Sometimes people don’t have the right bolts in their skates, which can scratch the floor, but I don’t think the condition of the gym got any worse while we were there.”

Additionally, the team asserted its players were not the only ones who played hockey in the gym before the team was banned and the damage could not possibly fall squarely on the team’s shoulders.

“It is tough to say how much of the damage we did,” said Sean Doherty, then hockey club president, in the Sept. 14, 1995, issue of The Index. “Damage to the front part of the stage is stuff we did. Other things like knocking out the rails, breaking windows and doors is stuff I know we did not do while I was there.”

Regardless, the roller hockey team was kicked out, allowing for the men’s volleyball team to practice and play more games in the gym instead.

The volleyball team did express sympathy.

“I would like to see them stay,” Rich Torres, then middle blocker said.

As a result of not having a place to play, the roller hockey team had to look to other places, like Macon, to practice.

The roller hockey team, as well as many other athletic clubs on campus that year, advocated for a recreation center to be built on campus, and one of the specific requests was that the rec center have a multi-purpose floor for skating.