Grand Canyon University women’s ice hockey will enter the structure of the American Collegiate Hockey Association at the top floor.
The ACHA approved GCU to play its inaugural season at the Division 1 level for the 2017-18 school year as a part of the Western Women’s Collegiate Hockey League.
“We are excited about the competition level that ACHA Division 1 will bring for us,” Lopes women’s ice hockey coach Natalie Rossi said. “It’s exciting to start out at Division 1.”
GCU’s new program has been preparing to compete at the Division 1 level by assembling an initial recruiting class of 19 players so far. That includes three new commitments this month in Hannah Dibiasi of Gilbert, Tiffany Racataian of Riverside, Calif., and Courtney Morgan of Cedar City, Utah. Last month, GCU picked up two transfers in Kylie Kramer, an El Mirage native who had played at NCAA Division III program College of St. Benedict and Arizona State transfer Makayla Fehlig.
“We have some solid recruits who can make us competitive,” Rossi said. “I think we’re going to be pretty competitive in our league. We have a lot of talented people. It’s pretty crazy how quickly this is growing. The coaching staff’s hard work is paying off.”
The Lopes will open their first season on Sept. 22 and 23 at ASU before going to Colorado for a WWCHL preseason tournament that will include league opponents ASU, Colorado, Colorado State and University of Denver.