Honors Student Joins Ice Hockey Team Despite Challenges

Ramer studies neuroscience at the Honors College and believes his experience in the rink will help him prepare for his future.

By lauren woeber | 1/29/2016

The Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University’s John D. MacArthur Campus offers its diverse student body an interdisciplinary education in the liberal arts and sciences, while challenging them to take advantage of all the unlimited opportunities it offers.

In addition to their academic excellence, many Honors College students are involved in multiple extracurricular activities — whether volunteering, interning, leading one of the many organizations and clubs on campus or participating in university activities and programs.

Joshua C. Ramer, a freshman concentrating in neuroscience, is a prime example of the Honors College’s involved students, as he also is a member of the 2015-16 FAU Ice Hockey Club.  

FAU’s Ice Hockey Club began approximately 16 years ago, is part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) and has qualified twice for the national championship tournament in its short history. The hockey team plays an average of 20 to 25 regular season games in addition to the regional playoffs, conference championships and national championships. The Owls play in the state-of-the-art Florida Panthers Ice Den in Coral Springs, which is also the official practice rink for the NHL Florida Panthers. The team’s most recent victory was against NOVA: Northern Virginia Community College by a score of 5-2.

Ramer, originally from Fort Lauderdale, graduated from American Heritage High School. He has primarily played travel hockey since the age of 9. His first ice skating experience occurred at a classmate’s birthday celebration with his third-grade class. Months later he decided to return to the ice skating rink but the half-size hockey skate rentals he needed were not available.

“That day my grandma took me to a professional shop to get fitted for my first pair of hockey skates. She has always been very supportive,” Ramer said. “And ever since then I have been skating and playing in the hockey arena.”

It was these incidents, in addition to a skiing trip he took with his family to Vermont in April 2006, as well as a few hockey and figure skating clinics that would lead Ramer to pursue what would eventually become his passion for hockey.

“Most practices are at 6 a.m. or sometimes at 10:40 p.m. in Coral Springs. The round trip commute is almost two hours and putting on all your gear takes an additional 30 minutes,” he said. “There are a lot of emotions out on the rink when you are confronting another team. Hockey is a physically demanding sport and of course you want to win.”

The team this year is composed of 80 percent of new players. Ramer said it can often be challenging to learn to play with a new team and develop trust.

“On the other hand, one of the most rewarding aspects of playing in a team is that it builds character and places you in a situation where you meet other students you would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet,” he said. “It is also rewarding to know that you participate in a sport that is different and uncommon to a state like Florida.”  

Ramer has managed to balance his academics and his extracurricular activities with the intention of continuing to play ice hockey throughout the remainder of his undergraduate studies at the Honors College.

“The Honors College and its environment has surpassed my expectations. I have met a lot of incredible people with similar interests and have made great friends in my short time so far here,” he said.

 Some of his peers have become his No. 1 fans shouting and rooting from the stands.

 “I think he has more ‘cheerleaders’ at every home game than any other player,” said Luis Rivero, a freshman at the Honors College. “It is very funny sometimes, but it is admirable.”  

Upon graduation, Ramer plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in the neuroscience field. He believes his experience in the rink has helped him prepare for future, real-life circumstances.

 “Hockey and the hardships you often face in a sport helps you build a strong personality,” he said. “You are less likely to give up and you learn to deal better with loses. You take the ups and downs as they come and learn how to work and interact with the people around you.”