Hockey, golf combined for ‘golfkey’

The Music Man

In a move that is expected to save the University millions over the next several years, University President Mark Yudof and Chief of Staff Tonya Moten Brown announced plans Friday to merge the school’s hockey and golf programs.

“Given our financial challenges, we believe the University is simply not in the position to sustain all 23 programs and remain competitive,” Moten Brown said. “So we thought, hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we just took two sports and merged them into one supersport?”

The new competition would be played on an ice rink with patches of green turf scattered across it. The current hockey program would provide one center, goalie, forward and defenseman. Two golfers would also be on the ice at all times, one at forward and one on defense. Teams would score by getting the puck into the goalies’ nets, as in traditional hockey, or by “driving” the puck off the ice and onto one of four greens placed in the arena’s corners.

There was still dispute this weekend over whether a hockey puck or a golf ball should be used in the new sport.

“We still have some wrinkles to iron out,” Yudof said, “but it sounds pretty cool, huh? We call it ‘golfkey'”.

The University would honor all current scholarships for both sports but will be re-evaluating the number given out in the future.

“The players going through this tough transition have enough to worry about,” Moten Brown said. “They shouldn’t have to worry about losing scholarship money on top of having to go out and buy hockey skates or nine irons, whichever be the case.”

Players and coaches had mixed opinions after the announcements.

“I don’t even know how to skate,” said golfer David Morgan.

“We won’t have to wear khakis, will we?” asked returning hockey senior Nick Anthony.

“It’s going to involve both squads picking up a lot of new skills this off-season, but we’re definitely up for the challenge,” said current men’s hockey coach Don Lucia, who will be vying with men’s golf coach Brad James for the golfkey coach position.

The University is falling in line with a national trend of merging athletics competitions, rather than cutting them outright.

In the Big Ten, the University of Michigan merged its football and wrestling programs last fall, and the University of Iowa announced plans earlier this spring to combine its hockey and soccer teams.

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