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DM47

ASU hockey to play 4 games at Gila River Arena

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DM47

http://www.thesundevils.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30300&ATCLID=210247632

 

I am not sure if there are plans in place for a new Arena yet or not but I know it is something they are going to need to address. They may use this to gauge the interest of College Hockey in the area to determine the size of the Arena to build???

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kwey24

Well, Gila River Arena is on the opposite end of the huge Phoenix metro area than Tempe. That said, people love Arizona State. I can't imagine these games not being well-attended. I'd still be careful if I'm Arizona State. The Badgers filled the Kohl Center at first, but the games aren't as full as they used to be. It seems like only North Dakota and Minnesota can really average crowds over 10,000 game in and game out. While I do think Arizona State could go larger than the 4,000 to 5,000 we're seeing a lot of, I personally wouldn't go much higher than 7,500 if I'm Arizona State building a new arena specifically for hockey.

 

Now, if the Phoenix Coyotes moved, well... Maybe you just play at Gila River and practice in or near Tempe. I think they'd prefer to have an arena in Tempe that's closer to campus, though. You want to make it possible to have a sizable student section.

 

Man, is Arizona going to get pounded... The Wildcats missed the national tournament last year (they had massive troubles getting ice-time for practice) and it's going to be tough to get high-end junior hockey players with sporadic practices. This is a shame, because Arizona has the potential to be one of the top programs in the ACHA, but there's just a lack of ice time in Tucson (when it shares the TCC with other events). I wish for all of Tucson hockey that a typical local ice arena would be constructed to offer ice year-round.

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Mr Ricochet

 


ASU elevated head coach Greg Powers to the NCAA level in the same position. He is in his eighth year overall as a member of the Sun Devil Hockey coaching staff. Powers led the ACHA program to a national title in 2013-14 and has a 164-27-9 record all-time as head coach.

 

 

So ASU has been a power at the ACHA level? ......What conference will they join or will they be an independent at the D1 level?

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kwey24

Arizona State was able to load up pretty good the last two years. It wasn't a well-kept secret that they were going D1 and they were able to recruit accordingly. The Sun Devils won the 2014 ACHA Men's Division 1 national championship but actually were eliminated in the semifinals last year, surprisingly, by Stony Brook and Central Oklahoma ended up winning. One thing that factored in was that ASU lost goalie Robert Levin to injury. I thought Levin was bound to be named to Team USA for the 2015 World University Games along with Iowa State's Matt Cooper, but I suspect the sheer number of ASU position players taken factored into taking Illinois Joe Olen, who I had touted, but I wouldn't have expected him to possibly play at the WUGs until the 2017 version. That said, Stony Brook has really risen to the top with a strong corps of forwards. They haven't been without defensemen, but they haven't been as deep at defense as Arizona State, Iowa State, and Ohio, for instance. The one area where Stony Brook hasn't been standout is goaltending. Their goaltending is by no means weak, but it isn't a strength. Not to toot my team's horn, but Iowa State was the only team that really challenged Central Oklahoma at the national tournament last year. That said, Iowa State's efforts against UCO were, in large part, the Antti Helanto show. Helanto will be playing in Europe in 2015-16. He'd be a top defenseman in the SPHL with his hockey sense, skill, mobility, and strength on his skates.

 

Arizona State, front to back, had the best roster in the ACHA on paper last year, but UCO's forwards really played well. They were quite deep at forward last year, goaltending was solid, and so was the defense. UCO had the depth in net to withstand an injury to Tory Caldwell with Brett Patchett. Arizona State didn't have someone as proven to turn to when Levin went down.

 

ASU has been recruiting hard, though, and they're going to be okay. They may have a year similar to Penn State in Year One, but I have no doubt that Arizona State will be a power someday at the NCAA DI ranks. It's not a tough sell to go to 20-year-old young men to go to ASU...

 

I just hope that Arizona make the jump to NCAA DI in the future, too. If that happened, maybe another ice sheet could be constructed for both Arizona to practice on and for the community to use. These two schools are such big rivals and hockey would take such a leap in Tucson if the Wildcats went NCAA DI.

 

Maybe the Coyotes struggle a bit by NHL standards in terms of support, but there's enough interest in hockey and more than enough loyalty to these two schools in The Grand Canyon State for NCAA DI hockey.

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Mr Ricochet

They may have a year similar to Penn State in Year One, but I have no doubt that Arizona State will be a power someday at the NCAA DI ranks.

 

 

Wow, you like ASU going forward? ...... Obviously the west is the great untapped area for the NCAA. If you had to guess Kwey which states/programs do you think will ice teams in the future? States like Texas and California seem logical.

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kwey24

Arizona State won't be awesome immediately, but it's a decent school and, with the warm climate, you're not going to struggle to get guys to come to ASU. In going up against ASU for recruiting in the ACHA, ASU would mention that the girls are sunbathing a lot more of the year... You can major in almost anything at ASU (it's huge). Was I surprised that ASU went with Powers as the head coach? Yes. That's no slam to Powers, though. ASU is just such a big school that it wouldn't have been hard for them to pick off an up-and-coming big name from a smaller school. So, Powers and Hicks will have to prove themselves for a few years to major recruits, but if they succeed, the prospects will start pouring in to ASU.

 

Arizona State may be a domino and maybe the second domino is Arizona. Domino to what? The Pac-12 having hockey. The Pac-12 will be easier to add hockey to than, say, the Big 12. I don't see USC, UCLA, Stanford, and Cal having too much trouble garnering support for hockey to average 4,000 fans per game or more. I wouldn't construct huge arenas for any of these hockey teams, but 5,000 seat arenas? Sure. Oregon State and Washington State might struggle to support hockey, but the rest? They'd probably be okay. (Utah might only have mild support, but I don't think it'd be too bad.) Obviously, if Seattle gets an NHL team, that could throw a wrench in Pac-12 hockey, because it'd make things very problematic for Washington. Even if Pac-12 hockey only had ASU, Arizona, USC, UCLA, Stanford, and California-Berkeley, that'd be something. (I can't imagine Oregon not wanting to keep up, though.) I think the University of Colorado would react well to NCAA DI hockey. So, 8 of 12 isn't too far out there. Title IX is an issue, but you don't have to offset with women's hockey.

 

One thing to watch is the unionization of college athletics, though. We're seeing changes already within football and basketball. Depending what happens, some schools may not want to add NCAA DI hockey and have to provide another roster of 28 to 30 guys benefits. If these excess costs get high, what you maybe see is NCAA institutions going an ACHA route and we see a lot of schools, in essence, becoming ramped up Liberty Universities (Liberty gets a fair amount of support from the university and it's going to have a near NCAA caliber arena soon--there are D1 arenas that are smaller.) Liberty is going to be interesting to follow when they start playing in a 3,200- seat arena after the LaHaye expansion is complete, and there will be luxury boxes and a lot of standing room, too. They may set the bar in the ACHA soon. It's a different type of school, but they could show some other schools what happens when you get some real support from your institution. We might see an ACHA program consistently averaging close to 3,000 fans per game or more if they can put on a solid game presentation. There are a number of NAIA schools doing this, but an NCAA DI institution providing the facilities, paying for some staff, and removing obstacles to their ACHA teams would be enough.

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