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The Lakehead women’s club hockey program has joined the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
They are the first Canadian team to ever join the ACHA, where they will compete in the women’s Division 2, with 32 other teams.
Lakehead received the good news earlier in October, when they were granted a provisional membership by Molly Mahoney, Commissioner of the ACHA’s Women’s Division. Lakehead has already played three ACHA games, going 2-1, although they will not be eligible for the playoffs until the 2016-17 season.
“This is a first, that a Canadian University will be in the ACHA, so congrats on making history!” said Scott Hicks, VP of the ACHA’s Women’s division in an email to team manager Leah Vanderwey. “We’re excited that Lakehead has joined, and about the possibility of more Canadian teams joining.”
“When I got the news from Scott Hicks, I was so excited for the girls on the team now and those in the future.” said Lakehead manager Leah Vanderwey. “It puts postsecondary women’s hockey on the map in a region that is home to two Olympic gold medalists, Katie Weatherston and Haley Irwin. It gives an opportunity for young women to attend Lakehead University, play for the Thunderwolves and represent Canada in an American league…it just doesn’t get better than that!”
“From an early age female competitive hockey players dream of playing University/College Hockey and it was with this dream in mind that we decided to resurrect the women’s hockey program at Lakehead University,” continued Vanderwey, who is thankful to the many volunteers, including her daughters, Juliah and Lizzi as well as Carlie Pennock, Lauren Haskell and Richelle Savard, who helped get the program off the ground four years ago.
“A big thanks to our head coach, Daniel (Boomer) Calvert and his assistant coaches, Joey Tougas, Mike Friday and Danny Calvert, and to all the women and their families who have put up their own money to keep the team going.”
The team has also received sponsorship assistance from the Oliver Rd Can-Op, Pic River Hydro and Clarke Explorations.
“Of course, I also have to thank Tom Warden and Lana Rizzuto for their support over the 4 years and their continued support into the future,” added Vanderwey.
“We’re proud to call this exceptional women’s team our own, and to support them in their pursuit of excellence on the ice south of the border, and right here in Northwestern Ontario” commented Lakehead Athletics Director Tom Warden.
The Thunderwolves’ next scheduled ACHA game is on January 16 and 17 in Ames, Iowa against Iowa State University Cyclones. The team is fundraising to secure their trip there.
Learn more about the team at: lakeheaduwomenshockey.com for news, schedule and roster.