Players from different eras of Kent State hockey came out to celebrate 44 years of the hockey program during the fourth annual Alumni Weekend. For coach Jim Underwood, it’s all about getting all the guys back together.
“The whole point of this weekend is to get guys back on campus and getting them skating on the same ice as they were when they were a college hockey player,” Underwood said. “It’s hard to take the kid and the competitor out of these guys, no matter how old they get. It was a blast.”
Shawn Egan played for the Flashes from 1981-85. Egan says that the reason these types of events work with hockey is because the sport has a unique aspect to it that no other sport has.
“I think the biggest thing with being part of the hockey team is, unlike some other different types of activities, that you have a connection with these guys from doing battle on the ice,” Egan said. “From a team standpoint, we did a lot of traveling, a lot of grunt work and practices so you make a bond with those players that you never forget. It makes a lot of good memories you’ll never forget.”
For the family of sophomore goaltender Sky Buller, this weekend was about more than just the alumni. Hockey runs in the Buller family.
It starts with Buller’s grandfather, Hy Buller, who played in the National Hockey League for the New York Rangers. He was the inspiration for why Sky wanted to play, according to his mother Marguerite Buller. Sky’s uncle, Jeff Buller, played as part of the Flashes program from 1971-1976.
“I was impressed,” Jeff Buller said. “It was a good time. Everybody was friendly and happy. It was good.”
Buller’s mother and father both came down to Kent from their hometown in British Columbia, Canada. Marguerite and his father, Bruce Buller, talked very highly of the weekend and the game of hockey in general.
“It just goes to show that the hockey community sticks together,” Bruce Buller said. “It’s not just when you’re done, you’re done. You get back together again to talk about old times. It’s just good to be around all these kinds of people that grew up in the hockey systems. It’s just a big hockey community thing and its really nice to be a part of.”
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Marguerite Buller said. “And it’s like what I say to Sky, ‘These guys aren’t just your teammates, they’re your brothers.’ This is really nice.”
Chris Yamnitsky is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]