By David Carter/GCU Club Sports Web Marketing Intern (Photo Courtesy of Photographer Elizabeth Tinajero)
An extraordinary grand opening.
On a sunny 80-degree Thursday afternoon, the GCU cheerleaders were enthusiastically cheering, the GCU Thundering Herd Pep Band was loudly playing their instruments, and news reporters were flocking in to report on the event. GCU President and CEO Brian Mueller, GCU Special Advisor Jerry Colangelo, and Arizona Coyotes’ President and CEO Ahron Cohen all spoke and cut the ribbon commemorating the grand opening, all while the GCU Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey players rollerbladed highlighting the first official use of the brand-new DEK Hockey rink located just south of the Canyon Activity Center on the GCU campus.
The new $150,000 rink was completely funded by the Coyotes as part of a partnership with GCU to help grow the game of hockey in Arizona. This new roller hockey rink will allow the GCU Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey players to practice and refine their hockey skills while they are away from the ice. They will be able to play in their rollerblades, roller skates, or in just their shoes. GCU students will also be able to use the rink as an activity to have fun and socialize with one another.
“This is the best next step for hockey on campus,” GCU Men’s Ice Hockey Head Coach Daniel Roy said. “Like President Mueller said, our students will use it frequently, and they will get plenty of use out of it. We have students who love hockey and will get to play it on campus.”
“We are expecting it to be great for GCU Ice Hockey as a whole,” added GCU Women’s Ice Hockey Head Coach Natalie Rossi. “A lot of players start out on roller and then transition to ice, so hopefully, we get some more people interested in the program.”
GCU students are also excited about the new roller rink, especially GCU Men’s Ice Hockey forward Jack Garcia, who has plans of starting a GCU roller hockey team.
“We want to have a team in place,” said Garcia. “We want to create a family environment here. GCU does such a good job of making everyone feel welcome, and this is (GCU Ice Hockey’s) way of showing thanks to GCU and the Coyotes for building this rink.”
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