By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
As the program continues to build its culture on the ice, Grand Canyon University Women’s Ice Hockey is already leaders off the ice.
At the American Collegiate Hockey Association Annual Meetings in Naples, Florida, GCU was recognized with the Community Service Award in the Women’s Division I for their efforts and volunteer hours in the community.
Alongside the winners for each men’s and women’s division, GCU was chosen for their constant work in the community that included time at Feed My Starving Children, Feed Our Babies USA, “Trick-or-Canning” with the Desert Mission Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend and the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon amongst others.
“I was so excited that the girls’ hard work was rewarded,” Lopes’ Head Coach Natalie Rossi said. “We set out with a goal of making the world a better place, and we did just that.”
Even after a season of many losses, Rossi went on to explain how the hard work off the ice was their biggest win, and is already setting a standard on who the team truly wants to be down the road.
“We definitely plan on continuing our tradition of giving back to the community,” Rossi said. “We’re setting good values. We’re student-athletes, and we care about the environment that we’re in. We want to make sure that we are leaving the world a better place than when we got it.”
Many of the events the team did throughout the year were put together by the players. In fact, the team is already starting to put together plans for more events next season. For Rossi, seeing their work pay off while earning the award in just the first year of the program makes the award even more special.
“We’re new, so putting ourselves on the board as the type of team that puts in the work – on and off the ice – is just who we are,” Rossi said. “We’ve set that culture for ourselves, and now everyone else knows that too.”