The Easterner

EWU hockey club moves to Pac-8

Two+hockey+club+members+in+a+game+against+Washington+State+this+season.+The+club+recently+joined+the+Pac-8%2C+a+Division+II+conference+in+the+American+Collegiate+Hockey+Association+%7C+Photo+courtesy+of+EWU+Hockey+Club
Two hockey club members in a game against Washington State this season. The club recently joined the Pac-8, a Division II conference in the American Collegiate Hockey Association | Photo courtesy of EWU Hockey Club

Two hockey club members in a game against Washington State this season. The club recently joined the Pac-8, a Division II conference in the American Collegiate Hockey Association | Photo courtesy of EWU Hockey Club

Two hockey club members in a game against Washington State this season. The club recently joined the Pac-8, a Division II conference in the American Collegiate Hockey Association | Photo courtesy of EWU Hockey Club

By Jeremy Burnham, Copy Editor

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EWU hockey has a new conference. The men’s club hockey team will be moving to the Pac-8 conference, EWU Hockey Club president Zachery Mindermann announced on May 31.

The Pac-8 is a Division II conference in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. All teams in the Pac-8 are non-varsity teams, like EWU’s. Many of the teams belong to schools in the Pac-12 Conference.

Also competing in the Pac-8 next year will be state rivals like the University of Washington, Washington State University and Western Washington University. Other teams in the conference include the University of Southern California, University of California Berkeley, San Jose State University and San Diego State University.

For the 2017-18 season, there were two teams on campus. One played in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League and finished 3-21. The other won a championship in the Northern Pacific Hockey Conference. Next year, there will only be one team, and it will be coached by the coach of the NPHC team, Pat Hanlon.

Mindermann says the team going forward will be made up of players from both squads.

“It will be a best of the best kind of thing,” said Mindermann. “We’ll bring everyone together and put together the most competitive team we can for the new conference.”

Travis Allen, the club sports coordinator for EWU, said having only one team should help the program gain more fan support.

“This move positions EWU Hockey to return to the program of old,” said Allen. “Administratively, we are excited at the chance for our student body to no longer be confused about which team is playing and hopefully this translates to a larger crowd presence at games. Our students are excited to see schools they’ve heard about for years in their very own building.”

Hanlon, who is entering his second season as EWU’s head coach, said he is looking forward to competing against the bigger schools.

“I am very proud of what we achieved this year in the Northern Pacific Hockey Conference,” Hanlon said. “This opportunity to join the PAC-8 was earned by our players and the teams from the past who set the stage for progress […] Being able to compete against well-known regional universities will increase the excitement in the URC and will benefit our recruiting tremendously. We are hopeful to earn a spot in [the] Lake Tahoe [championship tournament] and continue playing as long as we can. This is a great time for Eagle Hockey.”

Mindermann said he expects the team to play around 26 games. Home games are played at the URC. A schedule is expected to be announced in August, with the season starting in September.

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EWU hockey club moves to Pac-8