Coach Paerels and the Broncos hoist the 2020 WCRHL Division III trophy. (Mateo Lopez | The Poly Post)

Inside the rink: Cal Poly Pomona’s roller hockey club

By Mateo Lopez, Nov. 23, 2021

Among 12 sports clubs on campus, the Cal Poly Pomona Roller Hockey Club is the university’s official hockey team under ASI’s Campus Recreation Sports Club having won two games so far this season. 

Established in 2015, the club competes in Division III and IV of the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League, becoming Division III champions in 2019-2020 under the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association. 

Taylor Paerels, an applied mathematics and statistics 2020 graduate, founded the club in fall 2015 and actively competed as a member of the team until graduating with a master’s degree in statistics. 

“We were the first ones to get our foot in the door and say we are the official Cal Poly Pomona Roller Hockey Club,” said Taylor Paerels.  

Additionally, Paerels served as the club’s first president, handling scheduling, travel, recruiting and student eligibility. 

“It was always in the back of my mind entering college,” said Paerels. “It wasn’t until late sophomore, early junior year, I looked at the league, I’ve seen what goes on and I think I can pull this off,” said Paerels. 

Coach Paerels and the Broncos hoist the 2020 WCRHL Division III trophy. (Mateo Lopez | The Poly Post)

Prior to the club’s establishment, another CPP hockey club was formed in 1999 but was not considered an official team under CSU Executive Order 1006, which requires club sports to carry insurance with the university’s Office of Risk Management. 

Since 1999, the Broncos have compiled a record of 241 wins, 267 losses and 19 ties, according to the club page. The club was chartered in 2015. 

“In my time we were able to have two full squads, multiple goalies— it was rewarding seeing the people who have been there the entire time I was there with the new players,” said Paerels. 

While Paerels may no longer be involved with the administrative aspects of the club, the team remains an integral part of the Paerels family. 

John Paerels, Taylor’s father, is a substitute teacher for Rowland Unified School District and currently Head Coach for the CPP Roller Hockey Club. John Paerels began playing roller hockey himself when he was 10 years old and soon after formed a street hockey team with his friends. 

As a college student, Paerels played in several hockey teams and was a founder of two hockey clubs at Los Angeles Harbor College and Springfield College in Massachusetts. 

“I’ve always loved being involved with teams getting started and everything,” said Paerels. 

Paerels has been involved with the club since its founding and assisted with the registration process. Paerels became further involved with the club after an alumnus withdrew from the head coach position.  

“I knew how hard it was when I was in college when you don’t have a coach,” said Paerels. “You’re trying to organize things before the game and then go out to play and it’s too much. Even if they had the alumnus, I was willing to help out wherever they needed and see what happens with that.” 

In his position for six years now, Paerels recalls his best coaching memory as one of his most recent with the 2021-2022 team. 

“Back in 2020 when we won the WCRHL Championship— after five years of work, the team got better each year,” said Paerels, referring to the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League. 

Paerels will eventually step away from coaching but plans to remain a strong supporter of the team and hopes to be a familiar face for new players to come.

The team holds a scrimmage as part of its practice regimen. (Mateo Lopez | The Poly Post)

One of the newest members of the team, fourth-year transfer student Stewart Ramirez registered as a member of the club just this year and quickly bonded with the rest of the team.

“It’s a great group of guys, I love them. Everyone just came together. The guys that were here, with all the new guys that came on, they just embraced us and accepted us,” said Ramirez. 

Ramirez, raised in a Mexican household, found that many are shocked by his love for hockey. Ramirez originally played ice hockey since he was a child, garnering his interest from his father. This year Ramirez traded in his ice skates for rollerblades and noted the differences between ice and floor rinks.  

Having played two games as part of the club this season, Ramirez hopes the team continues to grow in the coming years.

“The coaching is great, the practice is great,” said Ramirez. “When you have a good group of guys it makes everything enjoyable,” said Ramirez. “Practice doesn’t feel like work you just have to come out here and have fun and when the game comes around it’s all money.”

The club is open to all CPP students regardless of academic standing. Students who wish to join must be enrolled in nine units and adhere to the club’s individual registration forms and fees.

For more information, visit the team’s Facebook page.

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