Face-off on the ice

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Taylor Curry
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Football, basketball, baseball and soccer all require major athleticism, but "hockey is definitely the hottest and fastest sport on ice," said Staff Sgt. Cody Engelke, Fairchild Air Force Base Falcons team president.

The Falcons team was organized January this year and was founded with the knowledge that ice hockey is a very popular sport within the local community. Many members of Team Fairchild also played for various recreational league teams around Spokane, Wash.

"After speaking with some players it became evident there were plenty of talented hockey players on Fairchild AFB and many of them would love to form a base team," said Engelke.

The team's current schedule has been centered on becoming a cohesive and competitive team through regular practices, multiple tournaments and exhibition games. Once a week, the team uses the Eastern Washington University ice rink for official practices.

"We are currently in the process of trying to schedule a couple games against other Air Force teams across the country," said Engelke. "Our hope is that Falcons Hockey continues to grow and offer a great sport for those military members participating."

There are approximately 35 players loaded to the team's roster, but typically have around 15 to 20 skaters available at any one time due to work related duties.

"We are always on the lookout for new talent as a means to boost our player pool and keep competition for game and tournament roster spots at a high level," said Engelke. "Any Air Force active-duty or Guard personnel assigned to Fairchild is eligible to join the team."

The team skates year round as a means to prepare for the "Stanley Cup" of military hockey, the Armed Forces Tournament that's hosted in Las Vegas, Nev., every November. The tournament consists of 26 military teams from across the country competing to represent their branch of service, base and local community to the best of their ability.

"Practices are very important for us since our top players can't always be available due to their job, so attending practice helps everyone get at the level they need to be," said Engelke.

On Friday, Aug. 16 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Eastern Washington University, the team will be hosting their first ever "white vs. blue" game, free of charge.

"This team is much more than a group of guys getting together multiple times a week to play a game they love," Engelke said. "We are members of a great sport and are honored to represent Fairchild every time we hit the ice."

For more information about the team, visit www.facebook.com/fairchildhockey