The University of Mary athletic program is close to bringing hockey to campus.
The UMary athletic department submitted an application to be a Division I member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
“Oh this is a tremendous opportunity,” Daniel Huntley said.
Once received, the Maruaders expect to hear back within 15 days. If accepted, UMary could play members schools suchs as Colorado and Utah.
“Once they have everything in hand they send it out to the Division I membership which is the 60 other teams,” Huntley said. “They need to receive a 75 percent vote, a yes vote.”
The ACHA is known for governing club sports, but UMary will treat them as any other varsity sport.
“Be in support of our athletic administrators,” Huntley said, “our athletic trainers. Our strength and conditioning staff, and our compliance staff. They are going to help run our program.”
One huge item crossed off the list is a head coach. 2015 NJCAA Ice Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee Daniel Huntley will lead the program. Huntley also serves as the associate athletic director.
“I miss the locker room,” Huntley said. “I miss that interaction and the intensity of the game.”
The program will have 25 non-scholarship athletes on a team that is expected to hit the ice in the fall of 2018. The new head coach said recruiting starts Sept. 20.
“There’s kids that want to play hockey,” Huntley said, “they’re pationate about it. We just have to go over and turn over a bunch of rocks, find every kid that’s out there that loves what we have.”
What conference the sport will compete in is undecided at the moment, but discussions are in place with nearby universities that play surrounding schools to form a conference.
UMary says they will play games at the VFW Center and practice at the Capital Ice Center.