Western’s men’s hockey team is making the effort and striving to get into the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League within the next year.
The BCIHL, which includes six teams, was created in 2006 for hockey teams in British Columbia and Washington.
Western currently plays in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, but won the 2013 National Championship while playing in the National Collegiate Hockey Association, which they left in 2015.
If accepted into the BCIHL, Western would be the second U.S. team included with Eastern Washington University.
Western coach Larry MacDonald has a strong desire to make it to the BCIHL within the next couple of years because it’s the top college league in British Columbia.
Being in the BCIHL would make for less traveling and stiffer competition for Western’s team, MacDonald said, and he’s looking to snag top-recruits in preparation for entering the new league.
“The competition would be immensely higher,” MacDonald said. “We’re pushing heavily on recruitment because we have a strong desire to take the club to the BCIHL.”
Focusing on this season, MacD
onald said he has hopes of returning to nationals, where they placed third last year.
MacDonald is now entering his second year as coach of the Vikings, but has been coaching hockey for about 18 years.
“When I first came here, I was familiar with Western, [as] more of a fan watching from the other side of the glass,” MacDonald said.
Senior Aidan Knabb said they have a competitive team right now, and he’s hoping that they will make it into the BCIHL to be able to play more Canadian teams.
Despite placing high in nationals last season, MacDonald said the team ws plagues with injuries, something he hopes to avoid this time around.
“Last year started out strong, but we started losing players right away,” MacDonald said. “One to a concussion, and the other to an early graduation and we had a couple other injuries,”
MacDonald said he’s confident in his team’s capabilities this year.
“All four of our defensemen are solid, and I’m willing to say they’re one of the top defensive lines in the conference right now,” MacDonald said.
The team will be recruiting players until the beginning of winter quarter. Administration cutoffs and getting student applications into Western to play on the team is Jan. 15.
“So, we’re cutting it close for this year trying to make this announcement and also trying to make the jump to the BICHL,” MacDonald said. “It’s a little bit lofty for this year, but hopefully next year we’ll be able to make that jump.