By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
With a new season comes new expectations.
And even greater competition.
The Grand Canyon University men’s ice hockey program released their 2017-18 schedules for both their Division II and Division III teams. Despite this being the second year of the program, the level of play won’t be treated as such.
The Division II team will open the season Sept. 22 and 23 with a pair of games at home against Arizona State’s top-ranked Division I team. They will then travel down to Tucson the next weekend for a game against Division I Arizona.
“That start against ASU DI is going to be a wake-up call to my guys who think they want to play DI hockey,” men’s ice hockey coach Danny Roy said. “The game against UA is going to be tough as well. They’ve recruited some good players and they’re a top-20 team.”
From there, the schedule won’t get any easier as the Lopes will match-up against six Division II teams who finished in the Western Region top-15 last season. This includes four against Arizona State’s Division II team and another four versus Northern Arizona, which earned the No. 2 seed out of the West in the 2017 National Championships.
The Lopes will also play in two weekend showcases; the Beehive Showcase in Utah and the Big Mountain Classic in Colorado. Each showcase will feature the top teams in the Western Region including powers such as Utah State, Weber State and Colorado State.
GCU will also have two California road trips where they will face Long Beach State in one and Cal State Northridge and San Diego State in the other, both of whom finished in the top-10 last season.
Even with a schedule that will have just 11 home games and 23 road games, the goal is to continue making strides and promote the program in any way possible.
“If we want to be a DI team, we have to prove that we can beat these teams who are at the top of our division,” Roy said. “When we promote it, it’s the hope that ‘Hey, our ice hockey team is playing this weekend, so go see them.’ Whether it’s DII, DIII or women’s, we’re trying to support the entire program.”
The inaugural Division III team schedule will present much of the same demand. The Lopes will open the year at home Sept. 29 and 30 against New Mexico, which finished in the Pacific Region top-15 last season. Overall, the Lopes will play five Division II teams and will match-up against NAU’s Division III team six times.
“They have a tough schedule as well,” Roy said. “I don’t want to treat them like a ‘team 2.’ They’re playing a competitive schedule and they have the same opportunity to compete for a national championship.”
Both schedules will run from late September to mid-February, with all home games being played at AZ Ice Peoria.
Division II (Team 1) 2017-18 Schedule
|Fri., Sept. 8||Purple vs Black Game|
|Fri., Sept. 22||ASU DI|
|Sat., Sept. 23||ASU DI|
|Fri., Sept. 29||@ Arizona DI|
|Sun., Oct. 1||Colorado State|
|Fri., Oct. 6||@ Cal State Northridge|
|Sat., Oct. 7||@ Cal State Northridge|
|Sun., Oct. 8||@ San Diego State|
|Fri., Oct. 13||ASU DII|
|Sun., Oct. 15||@ ASU DII|
|Thu., Oct. 19||@ Weber State|
|Fri., Oct. 20||@ Weber State|
|Sat., Oct. 21||@ Utah State|
|Sun., Oct. 29||Utah State|
|Fri., Nov. 3||@ Long Beach|
|Sat., Nov. 4||@ Long Beach|
|Fri., Nov. 10||NAU DII|
|Sat., Nov. 11||NAU DII|
|Thu., Nov. 16||@ Beehive Showcase|
|Fri., Nov. 17||@ Beehive Showcase|
|Sat., Nov. 18||@ Beehive Showcase|
|Sun., Nov. 19||@ Beehive Showcase|
|Sat., Dec. 2||Weber State|
|Sun., Dec. 3||Weber State|
|Sun., Dec. 10||AHSHA Premier Exhibition U18|
|Fri., Jan. 5||@ Arizona DI|
|Sat., Jan. 6||@ Arizona DI|
|Fri., Jan. 12||@ Big Mountain Classic|
|Sat., Jan. 13||@ Big Mountain Classic|
|Sun., Jan. 14||@ Big Mountain Classic|
|Mon., Jan. 15||@ Big Mountain Classic|
|Sat., Jan. 20||ASU DII|
|Sun., Jan. 21||@ ASU DII|
|Fri., Jan. 26||@ NAU DII|
|Sat., Jan. 27||@ NAU DII|
|Thu., Feb. 1||@ MWCHL Conference Playoffs|
|Fri., Feb. 2||@ MWCHL Conference Playoffs|
|Sat., Feb. 3||@ MWCHL Conference Playoffs|
|Fri., Feb. 9||Arizona DI @ Gila River Arena
Division III (Team 2) 2017-18 Schedule
|Fri., Sept. 8||Purple vs Black Game|
|Fri., Sept. 29||New Mexico|
|Sat., Sept. 30||New Mexico|
|Fri., Oct. 6||AZ Mission U18AA|
|Fri., Oct. 20||@ Cal Lutheran|
|Oct., Oct. 21||@ Cal Lutheran|
|Fri., Oct. 27||Jr. Sun Devils U18AA|
|Fri., Nov. 3||@ Fort Lewis College|
|Sat., Nov. 4||@ Fort Lewis College|
|Fri., Nov. 10||@ NAU DIII|
|Sat., Nov. 11||@ NAU DIII|
|Fri., Nov. 17||@ Cal State Fullerton|
|Sat., Nov. 18||@ Cal State Fullerton|
|Sun., Nov. 19||@ UC Santa Barbara|
|Fri., Dec. 1||NAU DIII|
|Sat., Dec. 2||@ NAU DIII|
|Sun., Dec. 10||AHSHA Premier Exhibition U16|
|Thu., Jan. 11||Western State Colorado|
|Fri., Jan. 12||@ New Mexico|
|Sat. Jan. 13||@ New Mexico|
|Fri., Jan. 19||Fort Lewis College|
|Sat., Jan. 20||Fort Lewis College|
|Fri., Jan. 26||NAU DIII|
|Sat., Jan. 27||NAU DIII|
|Sun., Jan. 28||Washington State|
|Fri., Feb. 2||Dallas Baptist|
|Sat., Feb. 3||Dallas Baptist|