Three years ago, the Flower Mound and Marcus ice hockey teams were near crisis mode.
What with dwindling numbers, fewer players joining the program each season and the recent closure of a local rink, the Jaguars and Marauders were in danger of disbanding. And, that’s when the unimaginable happened.
These two crosstown rival teams– perennial adversaries, renowned for the fierceness and intensity of their football team rivalry, known as the Battle of the Mound– decided to join forces and form one hockey team.
Known since then as the Flower Mound/Marcus Hockey Club, its program has flourished.
“Hockey had been declining in the DFW area,” said Jerry Glover, team president. “Many things contributed to this, but– in the Flower Mound area– it was mainly [due] to [the] closing of the Grapevine Polar Ice rink. Both FMHS and Marcus had struggled to get enough players to fulfill teams after this closing.”
What made it even more difficult for Flower Mound and Marcus hockey fans, is that it was roughly 10-years-ago when Marcus alone had three full teams and had won a state championship.
Glover said that the thing that really impresses him about the program is the way the players have bonded; and, watching the camaraderie that has formed.
“Many of the kids play on travel teams together– or know of each other from competing in the past– and they were friends,” Glover said. “The biggest hurdle was getting the Board of Directors to move forward. Ultimately, it was the parents from both schools getting together and stating they wanted to join [their] clubs that the new organization was born.
“Once we got started with a transition team, I could not tell you what player or family was from which school. They truly wanted to just play hockey.”
Varsity Silver coach Michael Bugbee agrees with Glover and said the team chemistry is something he noticed from the very beginning.
“If I didn’t already know, I would have no idea these guys went to different schools,” Bugbee said. “This is one team, one family. There’s a lot of team pride that stems from their school pride. They’re representing their community, not just their schools.”
Forward Grant Glover, Jerry’s son and a senior at Marcus, said he does not think much about the rivalry between Flower Mound and Marcus that exists in other sports, because he has grown up playing on the same team; as have several teammates who attend Flower Mound High School.
“Although it was a great experience to play for my school as a freshman, after the merger I felt as if there was a whole new feel and sense of camaraderie under the new team name,” he said. “It is a nice feeling to have a separate ideology, [other] than the football team or basketball team, in the sense that we can have our own rivalries.”
Flower Mound/Marcus has a Varsity Silver team (5-8, through the first 13 games) and Junior Varsity Silver team (3-10, through the first 13 games) this season. Bugbee said, even though the records are not quite where he would like for them to be, he has seen steady improvement throughout the season.
“It’s been a slow start, but the team is trending in the right direction,” he said. “We lost several key members of our team last season, due to graduation and replaced them with some great players. Over the last month, we’ve called up a couple of our JV players to reward them for their hard work and to push our Varsity players.
“Since then, our team has taken a big step in the right direction, in terms of our overall competitive level. I think we’re hitting our stride at the right time of the season and we can start chipping away at the teams in front of us in the standings.”
So, although the Battle of the Mound will continue with other teams from Marcus and Flower Mound schools, hockey is one sport where the community of Flower Mound is united.
“You have so many sports now that kids can compete in– and we have some kids that don’t attend either school [but] live in Flower Mound, but go private or other [schools],” Glover said. “In our situation though, the pride is all about the team, not the school.”