ETBU Sports Information.
MARSHALL – East Texas and Northwest Louisiana will welcome collegiate ice hockey to the region as East Texas Baptist University announces the addition of a varsity club team for the 2016-17 year. ETBU has engaged in a partnership with the Shreveport MudBugs based on an agreement made by ETBU President Dr. J. Blair Blackburn and MudBugs General Manager Scott “Muskey” Muscutt.
ETBU President Blackburn introduced his vision for the University’s ice hockey program, “We’re pleased to announce a partnership between the Shreveport MudBugs and East Texas Baptist University. Our commitment is to have a Christ-centered program. We want to build the lives of young men. We want their lives transformed, and we’re going to use hockey to do that.” Blackburn added, “ETBU desires to have quality young men of strong faith and character, who are dedicated to excelling on the ice and in life.”
The ETBU Tigers Ice Hockey Team’s official home will be on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport, where the Tigers will practice and play all of their home games. ETBU will be affiliated with the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) as a Division II club team.
Other members in the ACHA, of which ETBU will look to schedule include Texas, Texas A&M, Texas State, Texas Tech, UTEP, Dallas Baptist, SMU, TCU, UTA, UNT, Tulane, Ole Miss, Arkansas, and the other Tigers from LSU.
Jason “Soupy” Campbell will serve as the instructional skills coach for the Tigers. Campbell is the head coach of the Shreveport MudBugs NAHL Team. Blackburn commented about Campbell, “ETBU is grateful for this partnership with Scott Muscutt as well as Coach Campbell. Soupy will be instrumental in the development of our players. What an experienced coach the Shreveport MudBugs have in Soupy. We know he will help us establish an outstanding and competitive championship club team.”
Campbell says, “This is exciting for me to have a new team roll in here as I want to lead and develop these young men and their hockey skills and have them contribute to their community. That’s what we have always been about here. We love hockey but it’s more about growing these young athletes into men and women.”
Through ETBU, Tiger Hockey players can obtain a quality education from a respected Christ-centered institution. As an ACHA Division II program, ETBU will be providing $20,000 four-year scholarships to Tiger Hockey players.
Shreveport MudBugs will also have the opportunity to work on their undergraduate degree through ETBU. Blackburn stated, “ETBU will provide some scholarship support to MudBugs that would like to be part of our campus community, while they play here through the Shreveport NAHL team. We also have scholarships for Christian leadership, academic excellence, ministry, among others. So, we are investing in these athletes in order to make a Christ-centered education at ETBU affordable, while we provide young men the opportunity to play here at an absolutely incredible venue on George’s Pond.”
The University is seeking student athletes to join the ETBU Family as charter members of the Tiger Ice Hockey Team. Interested student-athletes should contact President Blackburn at 903.923.2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the ETBU Tiger Hockey program. The inaugural season will start in the fall of 2016 as the Tigers go on the hunt for victory on George’s Pond.
Blackburn expressed thanks to ETBU alumnus Kelly Wells of the Shreveport Sports Commission, “Kelly personally connected me to Muskey and Soupy. I appreciate what Kelly and the Commission does for the city of Shreveport in bringing in quality athletic events to the area for economic development.”
A graduate of Minden High School, Blackburn was born in Shreveport and reared in Minden. Blackburn shared, “We all want to see greater things happening in Shreveport. I love my home state, and I’m glad to be back here in the Piney Woods of Northwest Louisiana building strategic partnerships, which benefit the region.
Regarding ETBU’s corporate partnership with the Mud Bugs, Blackburn said, “We’re grateful that the ownership group under Muskey’s leadership has developed this opportunity for young people to get the opportunity to play hockey and develop their skills. So who knows? These kids that are on the ice today, who are six and seven years- old are training and learning, and may one day, they could be in the NHL. That’s their hope. That’s their dream, and it starts right here with what’s happening on George’s Pond. East Texas Baptist wants to be a part of that vision.”
Blackburn also shared, “They [Muscutt and Campbell] are men of excellence. They are putting together an outstanding program and their desire is to have such quality not only with the team, but with the facilities. And that commitment matches what we desire to do with our students as a center for excellence.”
Blackburn added, “As a corporate sponsor, ETBU believes in what Muskey and President/owner Tommy Scott are doing and we hope to share that with folks in East Texas. Our desire is to draw East Texas families to come over and be a part of the Shreveport MudBugs as raving fans. Families will enjoy using the superior ice facilities for instruction in hockey and figure skating as well as the other fun recreational activities they offer. I envision folks definitely coming across the state line to be a part of what’s happening here on George’s Pond.”
“We are thrilled from a MudBugs Hockey perspective and a George’s Pond perspective to have the ability to partner up with ETBU as this just puts a feather in our cap,” says Muscutt. “This is what George’s Pond was built to do and we have such a great grass roots start here with youth hockey to junior hockey and now we have added another step in the process with collegiate hockey as we have great opportunities for our players to pursue. I am really, really happy this is with ETBU.”