Farr comes to roller hockey club's rescue
CORTLAND — Tommy Farr really wants to be modest about it, but there is only one way he can tell the story.
He saved roller hockey at SUNY Cortland.
Farr, a 2008 graduate of John S. Burke Catholic, headed to Cortland to study physical education. As a three-year member of
the varsity ice hockey team at Burke, he hoped to play club ice hockey at Cortland. Farr tried out for the team but was cut.
On the advice of a friend, Farr then went out for Cortland's first club roller hockey team, which wound up being a life-changingdecision.
The team, with Farr as an assistant captain, finished 3-8-1 that first year. But the won-loss record wasn't the biggest disappointment.
During a road trip, one of the players was involved in a car accident. The school-required itinerary had not been filed with the recreational sports department and the office was not notified until one day after the accident. The roller hockey team was suspended from participating in a weekend tournament.
Farr then stepped forward and volunteered to take care of the paperwork and behind-the-scenes administrative work needed to keep the team afloat.
"There probably wouldn't be a team if not for that," Farr said.
Entirely self-funded for the first season, the team received about $2,000 from the school during the 2009-10 season. At the endof that campaign, the roller hockey team received the most improved sports club award from Cortland's recreational sports department.
Now, as a junior, not only is Farr the team captain and a three-time Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association all-star, he's the team president and a league representative. The responsibilities are endless.
Aside from planning practices and meetings and organizing caravans for road games, Farr has to submit detailed plans for every road trip and work with the registrar to provide proof of player enrollments to the league office. Farr also authors a blog at cortlandroller.blogspot.com.
"It's definitely worth it," Farr said. "As the president, I'm in charge of scheduling the practices and the meetings. As the captain, I'm kind of like the coach of the team. I'm a player, coach and team president."
It's also a résumé-booster. Farr hopes to coach ice hockey in some regard in the future and has gained plenty of real world experience.
Cortland's roller hockey team still practices on fenced-in basketball court behind a firehouse, but it received about $2,700 in school funding this year.
The 15 players pay $235 apiece in dues, which go toward hotel and gas costs as well as team registration fees with the ECRHA. In the fall of 2013, the Student Life Center is set to open on campus, which will include a roller hockey rink.
Roller hockey is growing in popularity among former ice hockey players from Section 9, with 16 of them competing on teams on the ECRHA. Farr has already received requests from potential players for next season.
This weekend, Farr will be busy as Cortland (6-6-0) travels to Feasterville, Pa., for the ECRHA regionals. They'll arrive early for a 3:30 p.m. practice — they haven't had a practice on a proper surface in two weeks — and will then wait until their 11:40 p.m. game against SUNY Oswego.
That game will have a little extra meaning to Farr, whose younger brother Billy is an all-star freshman defenseman for the Lakers.
Locals playing in the ECRHAMike Barbariantz (S.S. Seward '08), SUNY Cortland
Tyler Barbariantz (S.S. Seward '10), SUNY Oswego
Eric Caprarola (Monroe-Woodbury '08), UMass
Mark Denga (M-W '06), Boston University
Brian Donovan (M-W '09), Northeastern
Billy Farr (Washingtonville '10), SUNY Oswego
Tommy Farr (John S. Burke Catholic '08), SUNY Cortland
Brian Gambardella (Washingtonville '08), SUNY Oswego
Danny Gambardella (Washingtonville '10), SUNY Oswego
Sean Glynn (Washingtonville '08), SUNY Cortland
Brendan Joyce (Warwick '08), SUNY Cortland
Matt LoBiondo (Newburgh Free Academy '10), Vermont
Ryan McAleer (Washingtonville '09), SUNY Oswego
Ryan Oliveri (Washingtonville '08), SUNY Oswego
Steve Popoloski (Washingtonville '08), SUNY Brockport
Mike Sobel (M-W '08), Northeastern