The Grand Canyon University men’s and women’s ice hockey programs aim to develop participation and ability but not only with their Lopes teams.
GCU ice hockey wants to be part of growing the sport in the entire Phoenix area and took a major step toward that impact with last weekend’s prospect camps at AZ Ice Peoria.
The Lopes coaching staff staged three-day camps for males and females who are 15 years of age or older and received an overwhelming response. The male camp included 51 players while the female camp drew 30 players.
“It was a mix of players who are being actively recruited, players who are ready to start college and are exploring options and kids who are entering their junior and senior years and are learning how to start that process of exploring college options,” GCU men’s ice hockey coach and director of hockey operations Danny Roy said. “We’re trying to get them excited about GCU ice hockey.”
The camps drew players from as far away as Alaska and Canada with male participation nearly doubling last year’s camp attendance.
The camp structure included four 90-minute sessions – Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening and Sunday morning – with a blend of organized practices and scrimmages. After Saturday’s morning session, the campers also took a GCU campus tour.
This was the first time that the new GCU women’s ice hockey program staged a camp. The turnout included some members of the program’s first recruiting class.
“For our first-ever prospect camp, I was really excited about the number of interested players who participated,” GCU women’s ice hockey coach Natalie Rossi said. “All of the players worked extremely hard, which made the pace of the weekend fast and competitive.
“I look forward to the June camp and having even more girls out there for it.”
Registration for the June camps will start Saturday.
“All the reactions of the players were that they really liked the camp,” Roy said. “They all said they had a great time and they thought it was competitive and well-run. The parents had similar thoughts and couldn’t believe the growth of the program in just a year and a half.”