By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
So far this offseason, Grand Canyon University Women’s Ice Hockey has brought in 15 new players that will suit up for the Lopes in September. In the first group, GCU Head Coach Natalie Rossi added six players from Arizona and California. In this second group of recruiting, Rossi went further across the United States with eight players from six different states, while adding one more from Arizona.
First, Rossi will gain three players from Minnesota. Defenseman Savanna Atol is from Edina, and played for the Edina Hornets High School varsity program who recently won their second straight Minnesota Class AA State Championship in February. Defenseman Lauren Welsch has played the last four years with the Academy of Holy Angels Stars in Minneapolis, and was second on the team with five goals and third with nine points overall last season. Forward Allyson Tracy is from Pine City, and played for the Cambridge-Isanti/Mora/Pine City Bluejackets.
GCU will also bring in goaltender Grace Huegler from the Cibola Cougars High School varsity team in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She will join Keira Sturm, a forward from the St. Louis Lady Cyclones in St. Louis, Missouri. In the 2017 season, Sturm posted a team-high 20 goals and led with 30 points overall. Bri Laksy, a forward from the Team Idaho U19 AA program in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Alyssa Stanton, a defenseman from Kenai, Alaska and the Alaska All-Stars U19 team, and Kiana Price, a defenseman from the Back Mountain Blackhawks in Hanover Township, Pennsylvania, will also join the program this coming fall.
“Savanna brings that championship mentality, and is a great stay-at-home, playmaking defenseman, and Lauren and Allyson have a strong hockey sense coming from Minnesota,” Rossi said. “Kiana is big and strong, and Alyssa will be a big stand-out player for us, too. All these players have a lot of experiences that will help us fill the championship team we want to have.”
The 15th player added to the recruiting class is Gina Gualtiere, a forward from Scottsdale. Gualtiere played the last two years with the Arizona Lady Coyotes U19 team and was a teammate of fellow Lopes’ recruit Megan Brodfuehrer.