Liberty first to have five ACHA hockey teams
This hockey season, the Liberty University Flames have edged their competition before even stepping onto the ice. With the recent addition of a women's Division II hockey team, Liberty has become the first and only university in the American Collegiate Hockey Association to have one team in each of the league's five divisions.
"We're the only university in the country out of about 400 schools that has three men's and two women's teams," Kirk Handy, the men's Division I coach said. The teams are: men's Divisions I, II and III and women's Division I and II. The new women's Division II hockey team already has 10 games on its schedule. Former Liberty standout and Division I captain Zac Bauman is the coach.
The puck drops for the men's Division I hockey season Friday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the LaHaye Ice Center, as the Flames take on Adrian College.
"We think Adrian is going to be a top-10 team in the country this year, so this will be a great game," Handy said.
Liberty has had a men's hockey team since 1985, and for much of that time players and coaches were forced to travel to Roanoke every week for practice time on an ice rink. Then in 2006 a generous donation from Drs. Tim and Beverly LaHaye allowed the university to construct the LaHaye Ice Center on Campus North. Since that time, Liberty's hockey program has grown to five teams and the university has added synchronized skating and figure skating to its club sports offerings.
"Having our own ice rink on campus has really allowed us to propel the hockey program forward," Handy said. "Our goal is to continue improving both on the ice and in the classroom."
Last year, the Division I men's team had a combined GPA of 3.13, while the women's team had a 3.07 combined GPA.
"I think that is a phenomenal testament to the type of programs we have," Handy said.
Upcoming men's Division I home games
Sept. 17, vs. Adrian College, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 18, vs. Adrian College, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 24, vs. Niagara University, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25, vs. Niagara University, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 26, vs. Binghamton University, 2 p.m.
Oct. 1, vs. Davenport University, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for all Division I games are available through the Flames Ticket Office at (434) 582-SEAT (7328). Men's hockey tickets can also be purchased online.