By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
Puck drop is getting closer.
The inaugural Grand Canyon University Division I women’s ice hockey team released their 2017-18 schedule and it will feature some of the toughest competition in the nation.
The Lopes will play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association and be a part of the Western Women’s Collegiate Hockey League, which had three teams in the top-15 last season. Two of which, Lindenwood-Belleville and Minnesota, both earned a spot in the 2017 National Championships.
“The league we’re in is a strong league and it’s getting stronger and stronger each year,” women’s ice hockey head coach Natalie Rossi said. “We’re excited for the challenge.”
That challenge starts immediately as GCU will open the season Sept. 22 and 23 in Tempe against Arizona State.
“I can’t wait to play ASU,” Rossi said. “Hopefully we start that rivalry real quick. The local girls get to see that competition level.”
The schedule itself contains eight home games and 11 road games. Two of the road trips will see the Lopes travel to Illinois and Missouri in one weekend to play McKendree University and Lindenwood-Belleville, while the other in late January has the team traveling to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota.
“I am really excited for the number of home games we have,” Rossi said. “It’s really important we build up that fanbase. But I am really excited for the trips to Illinois and Minnesota. There is a lot of history there.”
GCU will also travel to Colorado Nov. 2-5 for a WWCHL Showcase which will include Colorado State and nationally-ranked Colorado. Two weekends later, the Lopes will host Midland University before the Thanksgiving break and will then host Arizona State Dec. 8-9 to close out 2017.
“I am just really looking forward to all of them,” Rossi said. “Day one getting on the ice is just going to be awesome.”
The women’s schedule will run from late September to mid-February, with all home games being played at AZ Ice Peoria.
Women’s 2017-18 Schedule
|Fri., Sept. 22||ASU|
|Sat., Sept. 23||ASU|
|Fri., Sept. 29||@ McKendree|
|Sat. Sept. 30||@ Lindenwood-Belleville|
|Sun., Oct. 1||@ Lindenwood-Belleville|
|Thu., Oct. 5||Colorado|
|Sun., Oct. 8||Colorado|
|Sun., Oct. 15||Colorado State|
|Thu., Nov. 2||@ Colorado State|
|Fri., Nov. 3||@ Denver|
|Sat., Nov. 4||@ Colorado|
|Sun., Nov. 5||@ ASU|
|Thu., Nov. 16||Midland|
|Sun., Nov. 19||Midland|
|Fri., Dec. 8||ASU|
|Sat., Dec. 9||ASU|
|Sat., Jan. 27||@ Minnesota|
|Sun., Jan. 28||@ Minnesota|
|Sun., Feb. 4||Denver|
|Feb., 23-25||@ WWCHL Playoffs|