COVID-19 Precautions condense Lopes’ season to 3 months with January start
By: Giovanni Hicks/ GCU Staff
Throughout the global pandemic, sports around the world have been on pause, and fans have been eagerly awaiting the return to competition.
For the Grand Canyon University Men’s Hockey team, that return must wait a few more months.
The West Coast Hockey League, which will include the Lopes’ D1 team for the first time this coming year, along with the American Collegiate Hockey Association, has shed some light on what to expect for the new season. Starting in late January, WCHL teams will begin a 16-game season that will extend through mid-March. The WCHL Playoffs will then begin in late March.
“Obviously, no one expected [COVID-19] to happen, but we do respect the decision of the WCHL,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Danny Roy. “We are letting our players know we are not the only ones going through this, and there are many other sports programs enduring the same thing.”
GCU itself has also stipulated rules and regulations concerning team training before the Lopes’ season opener vs. Arizona State University on January 22, which include no organized off-campus practices of any kind for the fall. Since all practices must be held on campus, the Lopes plan to take full advantage of their facilities.
“Although we cannot control this situation, we can control what we do in the meantime, making sure that we come out of this better than we went into it,” said Roy.
The team plans on not only getting into the weight room, but also using the DEK Roller Hockey Rink near the Canyon Activity Center on campus for practice, where they will conduct three-on-three scrimmages in order to stay aligned with the university guidelines about gatherings.
Roy and the Lopes are still awaiting word from the ACHA on how the seasons of the GCU D2 Men’s Hockey and GCU Women’s Hockey teams will be affected by the pandemic.
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