Bucking Bronchos: The Univeristy of Central Oklahoma Hockey team

When you think of Oklahoma, you think of tornado alley and football. In Edmond, Oklahoma, though, they like to think of themselves as a hockey town. The University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos (spelled with an H) have been playing hockey in the ACHA since 2006 with one goal in mind from the start: Be the best.

Photos via UCO Bronchos Hockey Facebook
I had the pleasure to speak with head coach and founder of the club at UCO, Craig McAlister, about his boys and the team in general. Coach McAlister, who's resume includes taking the Bronchos to Nationals every year since 2008-09 and winning nationals in 2015 and 2017, Explained to me that his process of starting the team was finding the right bunch of players that, not only had the talent to play at the ACHA D1 level, but to have players that could play with each other seamlessly, much as if they've been playing with each other for years already.

Photos Via UCO Bronchos Hockey Facebook
The #8 Nationally Ranked team holds on ice and off ice practices Monday through Wednesday, either in the afternoon or evening. Also, being that the team's closest opponent and rival, Oklahoma, is at least 45 minutes away, the team spends a lot of time on the road to get to their next opponent. This is not to say that the team has an easy schedule, though. So far this season, the Bronchos have faced off against Nationally ranked teams #1 Lindenwood,#6 Iowa State, #7 Arizona, #10 Illinois, #19 Colorado, and #20 Colorado State with #12 Missouri State and #23 Alabama still to be played. That equals to 80% of UCO's schedule being played against top 25 teams.

Photo Via UCO Bronchos Hockey Facebook 
When talking to Coach McAlister about how his team plays, he told me that his team must play a very Fast form of hockey as most teams try to get aggressive with his boys to slow them down. He also places emphasis on discipline, both skating and passing, with emphasis on players being skilled in both offensive and defensive play as well. With myself watching the team play via broadcast, I can only state that the team plays like a fine tuned machine. Every player is aware of where to be on the ice in proximity to each other and every player gets down the ice like a wild herd of broncos.

Photos Via UCO Bronchos Hockey Facebook
When speaking to coach McAlister about the team's three uniform options the team has this year, He stated that the team wanted to go with something different with every other jersey and wanted ones that they could get a few years out of. Going with Harrow for the navy and white uniforms and JOG for the yellow uniform, The team's Blue jersey are based off of the Nashville Predators edge white jersey template and, I must say, it looks good in blue. The team uses the "UCO" logo on the front of the jersey with blue pants and predator style socks.

The White Uniform is a more traditional design with a Bronze/Blue/Bronze striping pattern and a blue yoke with a Bronze accent. The front of the jersey has "CENTRAL OKLAHOMA" with the "Broncho head" logo on the shoulders and matching socks. It's a nice, timeless look and could be used for years to come without a dated feel to it.

Finally, the Yellow third jersey features Blue striping with a offset white stripe in the blue stripe as well as a blue yoke. The work "BRONCHOS" is written diagonally across the chest with the "UCO" logo on the shoulders and matching socks. This is my favorite jersey out of the bunch. The offset stripes work great within the navy stripe, preventing a yellow-on-white issue. Also, the Diagonal script really helps change up the front of the jersey set and highlights the teams spelling of "BRONCHOS".

Looking forward to the second half of the season, 'Chos hockey looks to move up in the rankings to get a much more favorable spot in the National Tournament this year with a strong schedule ahead of them. With the determination and dedication the coaching staff and players put into representing the University of Central Oklahoma, I don't see that being a problem. Best of luck to the Bronchos in their quest to win another National Championship and keep on bucking!
Bucking Bronchos: The Univeristy of Central Oklahoma Hockey team Reviewed by Steve Marc on December 30, 2018 Rating: 5

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