Aquinas College announced today that they are adding women’s ice hockey to their intercollegiate athletics beginning in 2015.
The new team will compete in the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Division 1, and they will join the Central Collegiate Women’s Hockey Association. The CCWHA features teams from Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan, Northern Michigan and Aquinas’ neighbors Grand Valley State and Davenport.
“The implementation of men’s hockey at the College has gone much smoother than we could have imagined,” Aquinas athletic director Terry Bocian said in a statement. “This opened the discussion on women’s hockey.”
Men’s head coach Mark VanVliet will be in charge of growing the women’s program, just like he has done for the men’s.
“I look forward to becoming involved in the process of building a women’s hockey program at Aquinas College for talented young women who are looking for a quality education and an opportunity to be part of high-level hockey experience,” VanVliet said.
The athletic department hopes to have the entire women’s coaching staff in place for the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, which will allow for recruiting, program implementation and various other tasks.
“We are excited about the opportunity to enhance our sports offerings,” Bocian said, “allowing for student recruitment in new areas that offer women’s hockey and have our two hockey programs work together to build an on-ice tradition.”