Lopes showcase programs at AHSHA Premier Exhibition Sunday
By David Carter/GCU Staff
The interest and intrigue in collegiate ice hockey in Arizona continues to grow, and GCU Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey tried to further that growth spurt this past Sunday by hosting an exhibition with high-level high school ice hockey players.
GCU Ice Hockey faced off against the Arizona High School Hockey Association (AHSHA) Premier teams at GCU’s home ice of AZ Ice Arcadia. The Lopes’ Women’s team played against a mix of U-16 and U-18 players, while the men’s Division II and Division III teams squared off against the U-18 and U-16 teams, respectively.
“This definitely helps out with recruiting,” said GCU Women’s Ice Hockey
Coach Natalie Rossi. “I am lucky enough to be an assistant coach on (the AHSHA) team as well, so I know the girls and they know me, and it is good for them to get to know our players.”
Exhibitions such as these open the door for what avenues exist for hockey players who still want to play after they finish high school.
“It gives us a good opportunity to show the girls what our culture is about at GCU, and see what their future could look like,” said Rossi.
“Hockey is unique with the opportunity with playing Juniors until you are 21 years old before you decide to go to school,” said GCU Men’s Ice Hockey Coach Daniel Roy. “A lot of these players are not always well-educated on whether that is the best choice or not, and if they should go straight to college.”
What is unique about collegiate ice hockey is that there is an abundance of teams in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) for high school players to choose from, including GCU.
One of the biggest benefits of these exhibitions is how it showcases what the GCU Ice Hockey programs have to offer.
“If you are an in-state student, the big schools are the big three: Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, and University of Arizona,” said Roy. “Showing these high school players the GCU Ice Hockey program and the university shows them that another option exists.”
The GCU Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey teams resume play after the holidays, with the men facing the University of Arizona in Tucson January 4 and 5, and the women facing the University of Minnesota January 26 and 27 at AZ Ice Arcadia.
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