Sun Devil Hockey
Hockey in the desert is a beautiful thing. Fall and winter come yet it remains warm and palatable outside, while inside the arenas and rinks dotting the area kids and adults from ages three to infinity are skating, playing, and learning the game. There is and will likely always be the guffaws from our Northern brethren. “There’s ice in the desert?! Pfft”, they say. When Gila River Arena isn’t full, we hear those same lines about the team leaving for Vegas, Seattle, Canada, or who knows where. It is enough to make one weary, certainly, but hockey in the desert is no mirage. This season it’s getting even bigger.
Arizona State University is making the move to become a full fledged NCAA Division I hockey program, gradually shedding its ACHA roots and attempting the grand puck experiment alongside their NHL brethren. This season will be split between the ACHA and Divison I, with the program joining Division I full time next year as an independent. This in part thanks to a $32 million dollar donation from a group whom I assume are passionate about desert hockey, but it is also happening because of the tenacity of the Coyotes and their fans. After all, someone has to be first and right now these two hockey clubs are not unlike the Apollo 11 crew.
Tonight at the (gulp) thrashing that took place at Sun Devil Stadium against USC, the Sun Devil Hockey team took the gridiron for an introduction of sorts to their fans and classmates.
— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) September 27, 2015
All this to say that we are in this together.
The cheers the Sun Devil hockey club heard on the field at Sun Devil Stadium need to be replicated at Gila River Arena and moving forward at Oceanside Ice Arena. Much like the Coyotes, I’d wager many won’t expect this program to survive. If we want it to survive we have to show up.
Puck drops for the season at 7:00 PM on October 3rd at Gila River Arena.