MSU Ice Dogs

The Mississippi State Ice Dog Hockey team, yes you read that right Hockey Team, will host a two game home stand this weekend against Loyola at the Bancorp South Arena in Tupelo.

Several MSU students have come together and formed a club team to represent Mississippi State on the ice this season.

While not native to the area, hockey is beginning to catch on throughout the southeastern region.

"All but two schools in the SEC now have a hockey team," said Ice Hockey club president Patrick Swartz. "There is even talk that the there will be an SEC tournament and that the SEC may let us all wear the SEC patches."

The chance to be a pioneer and be part of a grassroots movement was something that was attractive to Swartz and his teammates.

"I started talking about putting a team together with some of the guys I played in-line hockey with," explained Patrick. "Once the ball got rolling, there was just no stopping it.

"It feels good to be part of something that may turn into something much bigger later. It would be really nice to look back fifteen years from now and see an Ice Hockey division in the SEC. To know we were part of building something like that would be something I would be really proud of."

The Ice Dogs currently have a roster of fifteen players and two goalies. The group is made up of players from around the country and instead of receiving a scholarship each player pays his way onto the team.

"We have all played at a competitive level at some point, but most of us played in the southeast," said Patrick. "We have players from Maryland, New York and a player from Colorado.

"At the beginning of the season each player has to pay $750 up front and that pays for travel, some equipment and other expenses.

"The University gives us $200 per semester. It's not a lot, but we're happy to have it."

In an effort to raise money for the team as well as garner some support from the home crowd, the Ice Dogs will play their only two home games of the season this weekend in Tupelo at the Bancorp South Arena.

"This weekend will be it as far as home games," said Swartz. "It's expensive to rent the facility and the ice won't be there year round."

Doors open one hour before the opening face-off each night. The puck drops at 7 PM on Friday night and 7:30 on Saturday night.

Admission is just five dollars and all children under the age of ten get in free.

The Ice Dogs are hoping to attract fans from around the area in hopes of building a base of support for future home games in Tupelo.

"Support is important for any club team and it can be something as simple as an encouraging e-mail," said Patrick. "People can always contact us about sponsorship or volunteering to help at our home games."

To learn more about the Ice Dogs visit their website at:

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