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    November 13, 2022 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    Liberty University’s ACHA Division I men’s hockey team and the Varsity Club are organizing their first alumni gathering at an away series, this Thursday through Saturday in Las Vegas, where the No. 4-ranked Flames will face NCAA Division I University of Alaska Anchorage on Thursday before playing back-to-back games against UNLV, currently the top-ranked team in ACHA Division I.

    “We’re really excited,” said Club Sports Director of Recruitment and Varsity Club Ben Hughes, a former DI defenseman currently in his sixth season as the Flames’ DII men’s hockey head coach. “We’ve never done a trip like this before where we’re including alumni and donors and parents (of current players) at an away hockey event. Our goal is primarily to engage and thank our alumni and donors. That’s our vision.”

    On Thursday night, before the 10 p.m. EST puck drop against the UAA Seawolves, Liberty’s Varsity Club will host a dinner for all of the alumni and their families as well as parents of current players in town for the weekend at City National Arena, the home rink of the Rebels.

    “We’re really excited about that event,” Hughes said. “It will be a beautiful event in a restaurant right above the rink, and we’ll be able to overlook the ice and watch the game.”

    On the following morning, Varsity Club is offering a golf outing available to any of the Liberty Hockey family, including some parents and alumni players, with a lunch provided afterward.

    “It will be fun,” Hughes said. “That’s before the first UNLV game on Friday and we’re getting our alumni tickets for both games (against the Rebels).”

    Though former players and family of current team members are responsible for their travel costs, the Varsity Club has partnered with the hotel where the Flames will be staying to reserve a block of rooms at a discounted rate.

    “We want people to be able to hang out with their friends and families,” Hughes said. “That’s the whole point of the trip. I’m going to see friends of mine that I played with that I haven’t seen in a couple of years, so I’m very excited about that, too. From a department standpoint, we kept it simple. We didn’t want to overschedule or overbook events of the trip. This is really the first of its kind so it’s a bit of a pioneering trip.”

    Hughes said the UNLV series was selected as an alumni engagement destination trip due to its accessibility, despite its distant location.

    “The reason we’re doing it is, one, because it’s Vegas, so it’s relatively cheap to go there and people would want to go there,” he said. “I don’t know if we’d do a trip to Adrian, Michigan, because it’s a hard place to get to. Secondly, it’s warm, plus the big draw is we’re playing Alaska Anchorage, an NCAA Division I team, and the top-ranked team in ACHA Division I (UNLV).”

    Between donors and alumni, there are currently about 35 who have registered online to attend, from all generations and regions of the country.

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

    Liberty DI men’s hockey Head Coach Kirk Handy (right), Assistant Coach Jonathan Chung (center), and Associate Head Coach Jeff Boettger (left) pray over the Flames and Rebels after their ‘Midnight Mayhem’ showdown, won by UNLV.