Utah Utes Rugby finds itself in similar situation to what Utah Hockey overcame
Following six years of hard work and effort to restore its reputation, Utah Hockey is nearly back to its former glory. In 2012 and 2013, the Utes earned competitive invitations to the ACHA West Regional tournament, and in the 2012-13 season, the Utes won the Pac-8 Championship.
Its latest accomplishment, Utah Hockey has been granted a bid to host the 2015 ACHA National Championships. For hosting the tournament, the team will automatically receive a spot in the competition.
Boldan said the path back started with no expectations and hard work to prove the integrity of the club.
“We didn't come out of the gate asking for the world to compete,” Boldan said. “We kept to our business, we got good grades and we tried to win on the ice.”
The culmination of the entire process has been the University of Utah's decision to allow Utah Hockey to once again use the Drum and Feather, the official logo of Utah Athletics. Furthermore, the Steiner Sports Complex placed the Utah Hockey logo on the ice for home games, a significant gesture to the team.
"I think campus knows what we're about now," Boldan said, "and they were more than happy last season to allow us to use the Drum and Feather. It really defined what home ice advantage was knowing that we're playing with our logo on the ice."
Having been where Utah Rugby is now, Boldan knows all too well what it will take to rebuild a once successful club. As part of Utah Rugby's penalty, they are not allowed to use university logos for the foreseeable future, and will be under strict supervision next season.
“It's tough,” Boldan said of next year's Rugby team. “Getting a team off the ground is a tough thing. So hopefully they have the people in place that have the dedication to get through it.”
While looking to rebuild a dejected Utah Rugby team, the program might find value in the lessons learned from their friends on the ice. It will be up to Utah Rugby to put in the effort, but reemerging as a competitive team is definitely in the realm of possibility.
Whitney O'Bannon is a new media sports writer for the Deseret News. Follow on Twitter at @whitney_oban.
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