DI men’s hockey lands 12 players on ACHA Academic All-America team
Liberty University’s ACHA Division I men’s hockey team placed an even dozen players — nearly half of its 26-man roster — on the ACHA Division I Academic All-American team, released this week.
“It’s tied for the most we’ve ever had,” Flames Head Coach Kirk Handy said. “I am super proud of all of our players, especially all of those guys who were honored as Academic All-Americans.”
Forwards Zak Albers, Nate Albers, Matt Bartel, Brett Gammer, Devin Melice, Truett Olson, and Jackson Vercellono, defensemen Colin Baird, Chaydan Lauber, and Alex Norwinski, and goalies Tyler Myers and Hunter Virostek were all recognized on the team.
On top of the demands of playing a 32-game schedule, including 14 road games, and daily practices throughout the week, those 12 student-athletes have maintained cumulative grade-point averages (GPAs) of 3.5 or higher for their academic careers.
Handy said the team achieved a near-record cumulative GPA of 3.35, which matches the record-high figure that the Club Sports department — with its 634 student-athletes on 41 distinct teams — reached as a whole for the spring semester.
“It’s a tribute to the phenomenal support we have from (Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Advancement) Sarah Kelly and her staff,” Handy said. “They have done a wonderful job of supporting our student-athletes to achieve their academic goals.”
He said the academic, spiritual, and social components of student-athletes’ lives at Liberty are valued as much or more than the team’s athletic success on the ice.
“One of the pillars of our program is for our players to succeed academically at the highest levels,” he said. “Absolutely, it’s a critical component. In order to be balanced properly as a student-athlete, one has to have that academic focus, as well as that spiritual component, that focus on growing as a person and as a leader, all the while working toward athletic success.”