With the NHL pre-season in full swing, most students could honestly care less about a sport that has such little relevance to the Houston area.
Perhaps the absence of interest is due to the fact that there is currently no active hockey team on campus. Unbeknownst to current students, there was an in-line hockey team that was alive and well, and was actually pretty successful in their 14 years of activity. Dr. Ed Marintsch, teacher of geology in the science department, was the coach of the team.
He started the club sport with the assistance of Kelly McDaniel, a hockey enthusiast and a friend of the school, in 1995 due to an interest in inline skating among the student body. That year, two teams, one “A” and one “B”, participated in many local tournaments. Towards the end of the year however, both teams had to join as one team. This varsity team ended up beating the Woodlands and Stafford.
Many hockey teams in the Houston metropolitan area took notice of the surprisingly talented players at Saint Thomas, and immediately set out to schedule games for the following season. By the summer of 1996, the Roller Toms became an official varsity sport, and the whole team was already looking forward to competing in the National Championship in Des Moines, Iowa.
The following years included games outside of the greater Houston area, in which the Roller Toms held up pretty well to some All-Star teams. The 1997-1998 season marked the introduction of arguably the coolest jerseys in all of Saint Thomas sports. In the summer of 1998, the Roller Toms traveled to Des Moines, Iowa to compete in the USAC/RS National Tournament, in which the hockey team lost to defending national champions, the Iowa X-plosion, and to Texas state champions the Austin Outlaws, as well as the Florida Thunder.
The Roller Toms did end up beating the Columbus Stars for an overall record of 1-3 at the tournament. Surprisingly, the team had to drive to Des Moines, meaning that over 2,000 miles were spent just getting there and back. The 1999-2000 season featured many injuries that held the team back, including an injury to the star goalie Trey Fuller. Chester Potvin filled in the position admirably.
In the following seasons the Roller Toms participated in the Houston High School In-Line Hockey League. The teams were some of the most talented to ever come through the school, and they gained a lot of interest around campus. From 2003-2006 the teams had three consecutive winning seasons with the fewest losses in the division. From 2007-2009, the Roller Toms were extremely young teams who continued to work their best even though they could not find the success that they found in the 2003-2006 seasons.
“These teams were as cooperative as any team I have ever coached. They believed in what I had to say, and they believed in themselves. Team spirit and togetherness was something special.”
–Dr. Marintsch, former Hockey Team coach
Unfortunately, the 2009 season was the last season for the Roller Toms as Marintsch just could not continue to be a teacher, rocketry team moderator, and coach of the prestigious hockey team. Marintsch would love to start the team back up, but unfortunately there is just not enough time.