Olds College is looking to expand it’s athletic program and the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference couldn’t be happier.
Olds has put together an application to join the Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League for the 2015-16 season, just what the ACAC was looking for.
“I’m on the committee to look at this and I’m super happy,” said RDC athletic director Keith Hansen. “We’ve been talking with several colleges about women’s hockey and we’re excited to see Olds come on board.”
Olds director of athletics, fitness and recreation, Bob Murray, said it’s something the college has been looking at for the last couple of years.
“It made sense,” he said. “We know Red Deer already has a team, but it will open up even more opportunities for women when there’s no other avenues for them (once they get out of high school).”
Hansen doesn’t feel Olds will interfere with the RDC Queens.
“It fits well,” he said. “There are tonnes of good female hockey players and a lot in the rural areas who would be interested in some of the Olds programs.”
“We’ve opened up more programs, like our business program, hospitality and tourism and sport management, which helps all our student athletes. Plus we have other programs women from the rural areas would be interested in.”
Murray is also excited about continuing to develop a rivalry between Olds College and RDC.
“We’re trying to establish that,” he said. “We already work together and I know a great example was this year when we hosted the ACAC women’s basketball championships and the men’s championship was in Red Deer. We worked it out so both finals wouldn’t be at the same time, in case someone wanted to go down the road to see both.”
The addition of another women’s hockey team was a must for the ACAC as Grant MacEwan will eventually leave to join the CIS, leaving only three teams.
“In two or there years MacEwan will try to get into the CIS (in hockey) again and if they’re accepted it means we do need more teams,” said Hansen. “We’ve talked with other schools, but so far Olds is the only one coming in. But that’s a step forward.”
Murray indicated Olds College will hire a coach next season, so he has time to recruit prior to opening the 2015-16 season.