Simon Fraser University Hockey is set to embark on a pilot project that could see the program soar to new heights.
On the heels of an undefeated season and their first championship victory in over 10 years, SFU Hockey announced today their plans for the upcoming 2022/23 season. In addition to their regular BCIHL campaign, the expanded schedule will see SFU compete in a host of non-conference matchups against NCAA Division I and U-Sports teams.
The confirmed schedule thus far will see SFU visit and host the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks and University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves over a span of 6 games.
In addition, SFU will play games regularly against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and Trinity Western University Spartans, with more games against both NCAA and U-Sports programs being actively scheduled.
“I think for many years, university hockey in Canada has been undervalued,” said SFU head coach Mark Coletta, who is entering his 12th year with the team.
Having grown up in Burnaby, Coletta has long advocated for university hockey in the region. With limited local options for university players at the time, Coletta’s own playing career saw him leave home to play in New York, helping SUNY-Plattsburgh win an NCAA championship in 2001. After minor stints playing at the professional ranks, Coletta returned home with the aspiration of building a local program–a venture that has since seen him become SFU Hockey’s longest-reigning head coach.
“Playing these non-conference games against NCAA Division I and U-Sports programs will not only raise local and international awareness of our program and what we do, but show prospective student-athletes that there is an avenue to keep playing hockey at a high level right here in Canada while getting a first-class education.”
However, this type of international and out-of-conference schedule comes at a cost, Coletta explained.
“We have to consider the players’ training, flights and accommodations, equipment, and the retention of staff to make this possible.”
In an effort to raise awareness about the program and its upcoming ventures, SFU Hockey will be hosting a fundraiser luncheon on March 18th at The Sportsbar Live! at Rogers Arena. The now sold-out event will feature catering from The Sportsbar Live!, as well as a silent auction with prizes including Canucks suite tickets, a golf retreat in Whistler, and much more.
For more details about the luncheon and how you can support SFU Hockey, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org