UCD Ice Hockey
Davis fans of the hockey are very fortunate, as UC Davis boasts a very competitive club ice hockey club. The UC Davis Ice Hockey team is comprised of undergraduate and graduate students of the university, and is usually coached by UCD alum as well. UCD's home arena is the Vacaville Skating Center (Davis St. exit on I-80 West, about 25 minutes from Davis) and games are played on one of two rinks, which differ in seating configuration. The Aggies compete in the Pacific Collegiate Hockey Association (PCHA) and the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Current opponents include Santa Rosa JC, Santa Clara University, San Jose State, San Fransisco State, UC Berkeley, and more, while past opponents have included Chapman University, CSU Fresno, and Sacramento State.
Play begins in early October and ends in February, and home games are possibly the best bargains for any athletics event: a Reg Card gets you in for $2.00, and regular admission isn't much more. Games last at least two hours. Full body contact is allowed, and on rare occasions, fans are treated to a good-spirited, classic hockey fight. It's real, full-out ice hockey, and beats driving all the way down to San Jose. Plus you get to root for the Aggies!
The team has performed well in recent years. In the 2012-2013 season, the Aggies took a 19-1-1 record, winning the regular season. In 2013-2014 they also qualified for playoffs and took home bronze.
For professional ice hockey, there is none other than the San Jose Sharks, one of the top teams in the National Hockey League. Unfortunately, it is in San Jose and it is the NHL, and an outing plus tickets can throw quite a bit on that credit card balance. But when has that stopped a hockey fan?
In fall 2005, the Stockton Thunder will join the East Coast Hockey League, the hockey version of AA minors. Travel distance and cost should be cheaper than a Sharks game, and the Thunder will play in a brand new arena. But remember, the Aggies are even less expensive and a lot more fun!
The American Hockey League (AHL) brought two more teams to northern California at the start of the 2015-16 season, the San Jose Barracuda and the Stockton Heat. The Barracuda share SAP Center with their NHL affiliates, the San Jose Sharks. While the aforementioned Stockton Thunder no longer exist, the Heat have taken over as the top hockey team in the city. They serve as the affiliates of the Calgary Flames.
Opportunities to play ice hockey are few and far between in this region of northern California, in case you aren't much of a watcher but love to lace up the skates and play. The Aggies' home rink at Vacaville has a schedule of stick-and-puck and pickup times that doesn't tend to work well for a student or working schedule, for example. There is an ice rink in Roseville, Skatetown, that has a better schedule for this, and has full sized ice as well. This rink also supports an adult Learn to Play Hockey program that will start you out from scratch if you've never played before and teach you the basics, and an adult hockey league with various leagues divided by skill level ranging from complete newbies to former Junior A and Division I college players. The ice is a little soft, though.