Things will look a little different on the ice in the 2020-21 Alberta Colleges Athletic Association season.
Just last week, the MacEwan University Griffins were accepted into Canada West of USports for both men’s and women’s hockey, alongside Trinity Western University.
“When somebody applies to another conference, you always take it as they could be leaving,” said RDC Athletic Director Diane St. Denis.
“The fact they had been talking about this for so many years, we weren’t sure whether they would get in this time around. I think what helped them was Trinty Western coming in with hockey, it evened it up.”
After the 2019-20 campaign, that means the ACAC will have a four-team league in women’s play and nine teams on the men’s side. The SAIT Trojans, NAIT Ooks, and Olds College Broncos along with RDC will be the four remaining Women’s Hockey teams in the ACAC.
St. Denis added Tuesday the new situation won’t be ideal, especially on the women’s side with only four teams but is the likely outcome when the puck drops in two years time.
“There are some institutions in the ACAC that are looking at the possibility of offering women’s hockey,” she said.
“Not in the near future, as in 2019-20, but could it be 2020-21, who knows. It could happen. The key here is for people to not panic around an institution leaving and looking at how do we continue to grow the sport.”
The Griffins will remain in the ACAC next year before making the transition to university play the following season. In both men’s and women’s hockey, MacEwan has won the ACAC Championship each of the last three seasons.
RDC is still also looking for a new Kings basketball head coach, after the departure of Clayton Pottinger. Pottinger took a job as the head coach at UBC-Okanagan earlier this spring.
St. Denis said it has been a long process to find a replacement, but they hope to announce the new coach sometime in the first week of June.
“Our target is to hopefully have a candidate identified by the first week of June. We ran into some delays,” said St. Denis.