By David Carter/GCU Club Sports Web Marketing Intern
The next season for GCU Men’s Ice Hockey does not start until September.
However, the preparations for next season – and beyond – have already begun.
The Lopes’ staff held their three-day, GCU Men’s Ice Hockey Prospect Camp last weekend at their home rink, AZ Ice Arcadia, in Phoenix. The annual event is put on each year to generate interest and buzz about the program among potential future Lopes’ players and students.
“We invite players who are sophomores in high school all the way up to young adults who are playing junior hockey,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Daniel Roy. “The goal is to give the players an opportunity to see GCU, start their college looks, and get some tips and pointers on how they can reach their academic and hockey goals from our staff.”
The prospects receive plenty of chances to view the campus, since the camp is split into three days. The camp has become so successful – with about 55 players attending it – that the prospects have to be divided into two separate groups. On the first day, each group gets about 90 minutes of ice time to familiarize themselves with the AZ Ice Arcadia surface.
The second day is by far the most jam-packed. The prospects receive a campus tour to start the day. While there, they get a chance to play on the new GCU Dek Hockey Rink, a roller hockey rink that the Arizona Coyotes donated to GCU as a way to promote the game of hockey in Arizona. The rink allows the players to play in their shoes and refine their hockey while living on campus and away from the ice rink. After that, each group received a two-hour break, then got back on the ice for nearly two hours for practice. The final day of the event featured a 90-minute scrimmage involving both groups.
With the Lopes making the jump to Division I this coming season, the coaching staff hopes the interest in this will enhance the excitement for the tryout camp in August.
“We have a lot of players interested in both levels, Division I and II,” mentioned Roy. “It is going to make our tryout camp very competitive. We are hoping to have 70+ players at that. Our coaching staff is working very hard contacting everybody that has applied and is interested in the program.”
With the camp and Finals Week happening within days of each other, Roy and his staff now change gears.
“The prospect camp always reminds me that it is a long summer,” joked Roy. “You finish the season, sit down for a little bit, then you get back to this camp and suddenly you are excited about hockey again. Then you sit for a little bit and realize you have to get through May, June, July, and the beginning of August.”
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