WHISTLER, B.C. – MacEwan University's hockey programs have been approved to join the Canada West conference following a successful vote at the Canada West AGM on Thursday.
Both Griffins men's and women's hockey teams will also join the U SPORTS ranks nationally when they begin play in Canada West, starting with the 2020-21 season.
Hockey teams from Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C. were also approved for inclusion in what will become a 10-team conference in both the men's and women's ranks.
MacEwan has competed in Canada West/U SPORTS since 2014 in basketball, cross-country, soccer and volleyball.
"This is an important milestone in our development as a university," says Deborah Saucier, president of MacEwan University. "One that will allow us to build on our athletics program's history of excellence, attract top-calibre athletes and embed athletics as part of MacEwan's culture."
Excellence has defined the Griffins hockey programs recently. Both women's and men's teams have won three-straight Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) championships. They'll compete for one more season (2019-20) in the ACAC before joining Canada West.
"We are really excited for the opportunity to compete in the premier university sport conference in Canada," said women's hockey head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "Our athletics department and key members of the MacEwan community have been unwavering in their commitment to elevate our hockey programs to Canada West. It is our turn as coaches and players to take the next 15 months to prepare to tackle this challenge head on while closing our ACAC chapter in a meaningful way."
Canada West hockey currently university features teams from Alberta, Calgary, Mount Royal, UBC, Lethbridge, Regina, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
"We're extremely excited to be joining the premier league of university hockey in Canada," says Griffins men's hockey head coach Michael Ringrose. "I think it's a huge opportunity for our program to take the next step. We've been building towards this moment for some time, so to finally have it be a reality is exciting."
In addition to MacEwan's and TWU's hockey programs being approved, Canada West members also approved the University of Fraser Valley's volleyball teams for inclusion in the conference starting in the 2020-21 season.
"The addition of these new programs speaks directly to the quality of Canada West, and the value these institutions see in expanding their sport offerings," says Canada West president Clint Hamilton. "We'd like to thank the applying members for bringing forward thorough applications, which clearly indicated their continued institutional commitment to Canada West.
"This is another sign that university sport across Western Canada is strong, and that providing additional academic, athletic, and leadership opportunities for student-athletes is important."