Arizona Icecats

Arizona's club hockey team reorganized Monday, eliminating the nickname Icecats and its creator, 32-year coach Leo Golembiewski, from the program.

The UA's Department of Campus Recreation will fund the Arizona Wildcats hockey club at first, with hopes it becomes self-sustaining.

Like the Icecats, the Wildcats will play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association and at the Tucson Convention Center, likely selling beer.

Brian Slugocki, Arizona Wildcats club hockey president, said five players went to the UA about two months ago with three requests: They wanted a new coach, to be able to stay at the TCC and to be more involved with the university.

He said Golembiewski "deserves all the credit in the world" for establishing the Icecats in 1979 and winning 634 games. Still, the entire team supported a change.

"To get a new coach? Yes, it was unanimous," Slugocki said, adding players were "frustrated" by scheduling and results.

Some fans "need to get it out of their heads" that the move was made by players disgruntled by playing time, he said.

Golembiewski, who owns the Icecats trademark, did not return a message.

His attorney, Marian Abram of Karp & Weiss, said Golembiewski was "disappointed by the news."

She hinted at legal action, a decision Golembiewski could make in the next month or two.

"He's considering his options but doesn't believe the story is going to end here," Abram said.

Associate vice president of student affairs Frank Farias said he found it "odd that our students were playing for a private corporation" in Golembiewski's group.

"Students have a right to self-govern themselves," he said. "Once they made that decision, my responsibility is to support them."

Assistant director Mary O'Mahoney said Campus Recreation's desire to bring hockey in line with 30 other student-run sports and the players' call for change "really, truly was a perfect storm."

Campus Recreation will pay costs at first, but O'Mahoney said the money will not come from taxes or tuition. Players will pay dues.

Department of Student Affairs will oversee fundraising and marketing.

Former assistant David Dougall will help the players' transition, which includes hiring a head coach after a national search.

Farias and Golembiewski have not spoken since a heated meeting one week ago, though Abram spoke with a UA lawyer.

Farias said he was not concerned about a potential lawsuit by Golembiewski.

"I believe we did everything according to the rights that the students have," he said.