TBolts hit ice in new hockey club

Airman 1st Class Julian Nieto

The Luke Thunderbolts Hockey Club was launched in February but has already made a name for itself in the Arcadia Summer-C hockey league. With a record of 8-1, the regular season wrapped up last week with the first semifinal game July 6. The club’s first skate was held in late April at Arizona Ice Peoria.

The organization welcomes military hockey lovers of all ranks, ages and experience levels.

“The outcome so far has been astounding,” said 2nd Lt. Ryan Allen, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron officer in charge and curator of Luke Thunderbolt Hockey Club. “There were enough interested skaters to field a team, but I knew there had to be more. We had to create a hockey club – a group that didn’t just produce a team, but shared the love of hockey.”

The Luke Air Force Base Thunderbolts Hockey Club was born and members have not looked back.

This is not the first crack at ice hockey in the Luke military community. In the last decade, a number of successful teams in league and armed services tournament play have represented the base. The recent resurgence is a testament to the passion for hockey at Luke.

“It is pretty awesome how things are coming together,” said Tech. Sgt. Chris McGuire, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief. “I never would have imagined this many Airmen from Luke actually played ice hockey.” The way everyone bonded immediately made being a part of the team really something.”

To experience the next game in person, the rink is located at 3853 E. Thomas Road in Phoenix. Admission to games is free.

The club does not intend to keep it all on the ice. They have already developed friendships through Stanley Cup viewing events and are arranging for a youth clinic to be held on base in September in cooperation with the Arizona Coyotes and the 56th Force Support Squadron. The club is also planning to make itself active in community events throughout Phoenix.

The hockey club will also enter a team in the Armed Services Hockey Nationals in Las Vegas later this year. Now more than 51 members aspire to enter as many as three teams, at varying levels of competition, in the upcoming fall leagues and participate in exhibition games against the All-Marine team and local first-responder teams.

In the meantime, the club hosts an open skate monthly and is busy planning a skills clinic for newer players. The club welcomes members of all ages, skill levels and experience. Players must have their own gear and be Defense Department-affiliated via active duty, Reserve, retired, DOD civilians or dependents in the local area.

For more information, contact Allen at lukeafbhockey@gmail.com, or find them on Facebook: facebook.com/LukeThunderboltsHockey/.