MISSOULA – Griz Nation has another team to fill the bleachers for: Griz Hockey.

The newly minted, officially recognized club team is capitalizing on Missoula’s love of hockey and drawing hundreds of fans in their first season. The 24-member team is composed of UM students from Montana and beyond.

The team’s general manager and assistant coach is UM alumnus Tucker Sargent, who also is the coach of UM’s club lacrosse team. Sargent said he has wanted to restart UM’s hockey team for many years. Up until about 10 years ago, the University yielded a team, but it petered out. Now, Griz Hockey is back.

“Missoula’s hockey culture is incredible, and now that we have our own team, it’s just a great addition to this school and community,” he said. “I’ve been amazed by the turnout and the support so far.”

Sargent said the team’s student athletes are from all over Montana and the country who want badly to “play hockey for UM.”

“Having a hockey team is another great way for us to recruit students who have an opportunity to play hockey here, when UM might not have been on their radar,” he said.

The team has a 3-0 record so far this season, having beat Gonzaga twice (6-0 and 7-2) and Montana State University (4-2). The team has so much support already, they’re already selling custom fan jerseys. Tickets sold out for their first home game with more than 1,000 fans in attendance and Sargant said he’s “been amazed by the crowd turnout.”

The team has added an additional 300 seats to the rink and a student section for this Friday’s game against MSU by installing more bleachers to keep up with the demand.

“If you want to see a great show and have fun with friends cheering on UM, I suggest you get to a Griz hockey game this Friday,” said Sargent.

University of Montana President Seth Bodnar will perform the ceremonial puck drop at 7:30 p.m. tonight in Missoula’s Glacier Ice Rink at the Missoula County Fairgrounds as Griz Hockey hosts MSU for the second time this season. Tickets will be available at the rink on Friday night, or ahead of time at Hockeywolf and Lacrossewolf Headquarters located at 2621 Brooks St. in Missoula. Tickets cost $5 for students, $5 for kids under 13 and $10 for adults.

The team is providing a bus for a free shuttle from the Adams Center to Glacier Ice Rink with pickup times at 6:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Parking is available at the rink and additional parking is across the street in the Les Schwab Tires parking lot, courtesy of Les Schwab Tires.

For more information, including a schedule and roster, visit grizhockey.com. Follow the team at @umgrizhockey on Instagram.  Fans can also catch the game live locally on ESPN 102.9 radio or watch the live stream on www.grizhockey.com/video.