CSUN hockey player accepted into the All-Star Select team

Ice Hockey Assistant Captain Chris Gale, 23, plays in a scrimmage at the Valley Ice Center in Panorama City on Aug. 13. Photo Credit: Rima Bek / Staff Reporter

The All-Star Select Team has chosen a CSUN hockey player, making him the first California player ever accepted into the team.

Chris Gale, 23, an assistant captain of CSUN’s ice hockey team, will play on the All-Star Select Team in December. As a member of the All-Star team, he will play with other selected collegiate athletes to compete against some European teams.

Steve Gale, CSUN’s ice hockey coach and Chris Gale’s father, said players gain great exposure by playing on the all-star team.

“It’s quite an accomplishment,” Steve Gale said.

JP Gale, 26, Chris Gale’s older brother and last year’s hockey captain, agreed.

“It says a lot for the (CSUN) team,” JP Gale said. “There are over 135 teams in the league and to have a player from California is a big deal.”

Chris Gale said there are two players selected from the Pacific division, which CSUN plays in. The other player selected is from Iowa.

“So, I’m really the only Western kid,” said the recreation and tourism management major.

In April, the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) hosted an All-Star Select tryout in Pennsylvania with eight different teams, Chris Gale said.

To qualify, collegiate athletes have to be a part of an ACHA sanctioned team, he added. The players are evaluated throughout the year and can only try out for the All-Star team by invitation.

From there, the ACHA selected 21 players who will travel to Europe in December and play against other European teams who are right below the professional level, Chris Gale said.

“It’s all about exposure and seeing what you do and if they like it or not,” Steve Gale said.

The National Select Team will play over a period of nine days in Switzerland, Germany and Austria, Chris Gale said.

“It’s the passion in my life,” he said.

Chris Gale has played hockey since he was five years old, taking an “immediate interest” in the sport after going to the rink and watching his father play.

Steve Gale, who has been coaching the CSUN team for the past four years, played semi-professional hockey for the California Eagles.

“He’s better than I am,” Steve Gale said. “That’s for sure. Better than I ever was.The kid can shoot the puck.”

On the team, it is Chris Gale’s job to score goals.

“That’s what I take the most pride and joy in,” Chris Gale said. “So that’s definitely my biggest concern on the team.”

While it is his ultimate goal to play professional hockey, Chris Gale said education is even more important to him.

“I think getting an education is probably the biggest thing. But, if I can play professional hockey at some level that would solidify all the years that I’ve played,” Chris Gale said.

Despite the prestige and sacrifice required to play for the team, he said the pressure is taken off him because of the talent level on the team.

“I can just be the player that I’m supposed to be and go out and do the things that I need to do and contribute in any way that I can,” Chris Gale said.

The CSUN team played a huge role in Chris Gale’s opportunity. He said if there was not a team, or if the team had not made it to Nationals last year, he might not have been invited.

“I just don’t think enough people know about this team and how good it is and how much fun the games are,” Chris Gale said. “If you haven’t experienced a CSUN hockey game, it’s something that should definitely be on your list of things to do as a student.”

Chris Gale said he credits his team’s success to his brother’s and father’s dedication to building the program.

“My brother and my dad have a huge piece in putting together this program and making it what it is,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for my brother or for my dad, this team would not have gone to nationals and wouldn’t be doing as well as the team has done. This program is just growing and growing because of them and I’m glad that I can just be a part of it.”