Desert Hockey News and Notes...
Let the Games Begin!
Walker's Off Ice Training Leads to On Ice Results!
PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – Sun Devil Athletics and hockey head coach Greg Powers have announced the 2nd Annual Desert Hockey Classic will be hosted at the Prescott Valley Event Center on December 30-31, 2016.
The four-team tournament will include the University of Connecticut, Brown University and St. Cloud State. The Sun Devils will play Brown for their first game of the tournament on Friday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m "The thought process in going up to Prescott all started last summer when we went up there for the Sun Devil Caravan. There was a serious appetite from the alumni in Prescott to have us play a game or a series of games there," said Powers. "We knew our club team was going to play NAU at the Prescott Valley Event Center last year, so I wanted to gauge the success of that experience. They drew over 3,500 people for the club game, proving it was a great opportunity for us to spread our brand throughout the state. It's a great hockey town and great hockey tradition. They have a beautiful facility and feel it is a great opportunity to expose them to Division I college hockey with the Desert Hockey Classic."
The 5,100-seat Prescott Valley Event Center was once home to the Arizona Sundogs of the Central Hockey League from 2006 to 2014. The league was eventually absorbed by the ECHL, one of only two minor leagues affiliated with the NHL.
"It's a great venue for college hockey and I think it's a great opportunity for people in the northern half of the state to be exposed to Division I hockey – and not just Arizona State, but three other tremendous programs," said Powers. "We can't wait to get up there."
UCONN returns to the Desert Hockey Classic for the second-straight year, while No. 3 St. Cloud State and Brown make their first appearances.
"We obviously have a great relationship with UCONN – we played in Storrs, Conn. last year and they came out for the inaugural Desert Hockey Classic, and instantly said they wanted to come back," said Powers. "St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko has been great to us and had us up to play them last year, and they said they would come back for a return trip. We needed another team for the classic and they could fit it in their schedule. They're a team that was ranked No. 1 in the country for the majority of the year last season. Our fans and the people up in Prescott will get to see a perennial Frozen Four contending team. With Brown, their head coach and I exchanged several emails to set up a series, and it came about they could come out during the classic and we booked it. A very historic, long-standing program with a rich tradition. We love the field and think it's exciting."
Moving forward, Powers plans to continue the tournament every year for the foreseeable future, as several teams have reached out with interest in just the first two seasons.
"We already get a lot of inquiries from teams all over the country wanting to attend, and we want to make it an annual event and one our fans can count on every year," said Powers. "Until we get our facility here – which we're hard at work trying to finalize – we want to spread this event all over the state.Who knows where we'll take it next, or if it goes off as well as we anticipate it in Prescott, it could be a permanent site for it. There's no reason not to expose not only our brand, but collegiate hockey on the west coast all over the state. But it's definitely a tournament we plan on having every year."
The tournament will kick off between St. Cloud State and UCONN at 4 p.m. on Friday, with tickets earning entry to both games on the same day. Saturday's games will be at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., with the Devils playing in the late slot no matter the opponent.
Tickets are now on sale through Ticketmaster here, and fans can call the PVEC ticket office at 1-800-745-3000 as well.
Prescott Valley Event Center to Host 2016 Desert Hockey Classic!
Inside the next edition...
Rebels Ready for Big Things in Las Vegas!
Roadrunners Open First Season on the Road at San Diego October 14th!
Don't Miss Our Weekly College Coaches Podcast
August 9 ASU Women Sun Devils Lindsey Ellis
August 16 GCU Men's ACHA D2 Danny Roy
Sept. 6 UNLV Men's ACHA D2 Anthony Vignieri-Greener
Sept.13 UofA Men's ACHA D1 Chad Berman
Sept. 20 ASU Men's NCAA D1 Greg Powers
Sept. 27 NAU Men's ACHA D2 Travis Johanson
Copyright © Scott Strande. All rights reserved.