BY MARY ANGELA BENTHAL
The onset of winter and cold weather can mean something different for everyone. Some people want to get outside and enjoy the brisk air, some want to stay in and stay warm. For Pittsburgh native Josh Snatchko, cold weather means it’s time to hit the street and play dek hockey.
Dek hockey, also sometimes known as ball hockey; is a great, inexpensive alternative to traditional hockey. The equipment required to play is far simpler than ice hockey or roller hockey. Players only need to wear shin pads and shoes, rather than skates, chest protectors and shoulder pads. There are also simpler rules for dek hockey athletes. For example, dek hockey is played four-on-four, instead of five-on-five. There is typically no referee required to call penalties, so it’s up to the players to make the call when they are fowled. Dek hockey is also played with a ball instead of a puck.
“In middle school and high school a lot of people played ice hockey,” Snatchko said, “But my friends and I could never afford the gear.”
Snatchko continued to discuss how dek hockey became his alternative, and how much fun he had with the sport. Snatchko originally played dek hockey with his family in their volunteer firefighter league, and put together his own local team with friends.
“Me and my buddy back home organized a team that played other neighborhood teams,” Snatchko said. “Anyone who likes to play hockey likes to play dek hockey.”
Driven by his own love for hockey and the desire for Franciscan students to be able to participate in this sport, Snatchko began the process of putting together a dek hockey club at Franciscan. Snatchko explained that he first got the idea when the NHL lockout of 2012 went into effect, putting professional hockey on hold for a period of time. He stated that this absence of hockey “just made you hungry to get out and play.”
With his idea of starting a dek hockey club in mind, Snatchko put out some information online to see if other students would be willing to join. “It started when I made an event page on Facebook,” Snatchko said, “It was crazy how many people were interested and that’s how it picked up steam.”
Upon realizing how many people were interested, Snatchko started looking into how he could really get the club going. His hope is to have a few practices a week at Belleview Park here in Steubenville, and enter into monthly tournaments in Pittsburgh.
Other students have already gotten on board with helping Snatchko in getting the club going. Franciscan student Mike Johnston played both ice hockey and roller hockey in the past–and will also be involved with the dek hockey club.
“I’m pretty excited about the dek hockey team, it’s going to be a smashing good time,” Johnston said. “I’m looking forward to it getting started.”
Snatchko explained that dek hockey is extremely, fun, easy to learn—making this an all-inclusive club.
“Even if you’ve never touched a hockey stick before, you can play,” he said.
For more information please contact Joshua Snatchko on Facebook, or call (724) 417-4910.