The Valley’s Other Hockey Team
MCALLEN – The Killer Bees aren’t the only local team hitting the ice this week for the start of the USA CHL season. The Texas Lawmen, based in McAllen, will also be a part of the junior hockey league.
The roster is made up of American and international players who want exposure that hopefully leads to a college scholarship. At the same time, they learn how to work together in a place far away from home.
“It’s an experience that is great for them in life,” said coach Ryan Egan. “To live in a new community, and be a part of a new community, and also ingrain themselves in it. It’s definitely an adjustment, but they look forward to that piece. It’s part of playing junior hockey. It’s part of the culture.”
“It’s kind of the dream honestly,” said player Matthew Valure. “The rink is always cold anyway. You’ve got ice, then you walk outside and it’s 80 degrees. You go golfing. It’s not too bad honestly. I like it down here.”
So where do the players stay in the Valley?
They stay with host families called billet families. It’s another way players can learn about the area.
“All our billet families are really nice and accepting of us,” said Valure. “The community has been really accepting too. It’s nice to have such an accepting community. We’re back to bring hockey to the Valley. Everyone wants hockey to be back in the Valley.”
After weeks of preparation, game time is almost here.
The Lawmen are going on the road this weekend to Wichita Falls for their first two games.
“We want to play with a lot of pace,” said Egan. “We want to play aggressive. We want to force teams into making mistakes. I think we have a team that should score a lot of goals. It should be a fun group to watch.”
And what’s hockey without a good rivalry? The Lawmen hope to give the Killer Bees a run not just for Valley supremacy, but for league supremacy.
“Everybody knows the Bees and they ask about the Bees,” said player Nick Johnson. “We want to make a name for ourselves. So come out and see us, the Texas Lawmen.”