UCLA has been known for their competitive division 1 basketball and football teams for decades. However, few may realize that ice hockey was once prominent at the university. From 1926 through 1941, the university sponsored a varsity team. After going absent for two decades, ice hockey returned to UCLA as a club sport in 1961.
The Bruins play in the Pacific 8 Intercollegiate Hockey Conference (PAC-8), and they play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division 2. Originally, only schools from the Pac-12 Conference were eligible, but starting in 2018-2019 the leagues opened its doors to teams from other conferences. There are 13 teams total in the league after the addition of Boise State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Western Washington, and Eastern Washington. The addition of these teams split the conference into two divisions.
Starting this season, the Bruins have a new home, The Cube. The ice and entertainment center, located in Santa Clarita, has three sheets of ice (The Pond, Olympic, and NHL). The Cube has nearly 100,000 square feet of space for various events, curling, hockey, skating and relaxation. The Cube has been recently renovated and is the top venue of its kind in Southern California.
The Bruins now call The Cube home for eight games during this season. This will include games against long-time crosstown rivals, the USC Trojans. In addition to hosting the Bruins home games, The Cube will be the site for the ACHA Division 2 National Tournament, which consists of 16 teams and will be held from March 14-18, 2022. The Bruins would love to be among the teams striving for the title, enjoying home ice advantage in the process.
UCLA began their season on the road against Eastern Washington on September 24. Their first home games was against the Spartans on October 8. The Bruins played extremely well in their first home game at The Cube, taking down the Spartans, 8-1. Other games at the Cube included a game against San Jose on October 9. The upcoming home schedule features games against CSUN on November 6, Cal-State Fullerton on November 6, USC on November 8 and January 21, University of California, San Diego on December 3 and 4, Long Beach on January 29, and San Diego on February 5. Hockey betting lines are favoring the Bruins this season.
The Bruins have won two Pac-8 titles, in 1999 and 2017. This year’s roster of 24 players consists of 17 forwards and seven defensive players. Seniors Tyler Sheppy, Cameron Khuong, Billy Zegras, and Zach Qian lead the team. The roster also consists of three juniors, and five sophomores. The future of the team looks bright with half the roster comprised of freshman.