A new challenge awaits the Sault College Cougars of the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The reigning ACHA Division 3 champions — who moved up to the Division 2 level this season — have slated a home game against a Division 1 opponent for February.
Sault College manager of athletic Paul Orazietti has confirmed that Sault College will play host to the University of West Virginia Mountaineers on February 15 at Rankin Arena in a 7:30 p.m. match.
The event is being termed as the first-ever ‘Winter Classic’ for the Sault College hockey program.
Orazietti commented on the concept.
“It is not a new idea by any means but it is a fresh concept for Sault College to promote and highlight its men’s hockey program,” Orazietti relayed. “I had seen this done at other (schools) in indoor settings and I decided that this was the best way to showcase the incredible talent that exists on the Sault College hockey team and the program itself while at the same time enhancing our overall student experience at Sault College.”
Orazietti noted that the Cougars set out to find the most competitive Division 1 program that they could and the University of West Virginia Mountaineers answered the call.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have such a major hockey program coming to Sault Ste. Marie to play our largely Sault, Ontario based team. I think local hockey fans will really be amazed at the caliber of hockey they will be treated to,” added Orazietti.
Mountaineers head coach Shane Buckley, who originally hails from the North Shore area, had this to say about the mid-winter tilt: “We are looking forward to making the trip up to the Sault. What coach (Mike) Hall, (manager) Mark Hebert and everyone involved with the program have built in such a short amount of time is remarkable, and we know that we’re going to have a tough test that weekend.
“It’s hard to find a better way to learn and grow as a team than playing a defending national champion in their rink on foreign soil. The Sault is a fantastic hockey town and I’m excited for our guys to experience it first-hand,” Buckley added.
Aforementioned Sault College coach Mike Hall noted that “it’s an exciting time for the Sault College Cougars to have the opportunity to play the University of West Virginia Division 1 team. We appreciate the effort of their team to make the long trek to Sault Ste. Marie. It should be some exciting hockey for our families and fans to watch.”
Advance tickets are on sale for $8. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Sault College athletics office or by calling 705.759.2554 ext 2709.