Bigger and Better Places
Recently the ASU Hockey organization announced that the team will be joining the NCAA for the 2015 – 2016 season. Right now the Sun Devils play at the division one club level in the ACHA. There are two key factors of how they were able to join the NCAA.
The first one is that they got a very generous donation. The second is that they are the most dominant team in the ACHA. Last year ASU won the ACHA national championship, with the help of Coach Greg Powers who won coach of the year, forward Kale Dolinski who won player of the year and goalie Robert Levin who won rookie of the year. The difference between this season and last years is that they are without Dolinski and a few other captains.
But Powers was very busy in the offseason where he put together arguably one of the best recruiting classes in the ACHA. With the help from some of the returners and some newcomers the Sun Devils have the best record in the league at 20-2 and are currently No. 1 in the rankings.
But none of it will matter next year when they play NCAA division one talent. The question still remains, how will ASU do in a better league next year? Well two years ago the Sun Devils got to play against Penn State that is a NCAA division one school and shut them out with a score of 3-0. So that answers the question of, can ASU play in the NCAA? Yes.
The next question would be, can they be good in the NCAA? They can be. The reason why is that a good amount of their roster has gotten NCAA offers or transferred from the NCAA. Forward Ryan Belonger transferred from Northwestern university to play at ASU, freshman defensive man Ed McGovern got offers, and so did goalie Robert Levin, left-wing Chris Burkemper, defensive man Connor Schmidt, and some others. So they will definitely be able to compete with some decent NCAA teams.
Even though ASU has been downgraded this year with a lot of injuries to key players like sophomore forward Ryan Ostertag and freshman defensive man Gianni Mangone. The Sun Devils still continue to win without them because of coach Powers. In his career at ASU he has brought his team to back-to-back final four appearances and a national championship. Not to mention that he is the most winning hockey coach in ASU history.
Going into the NCAA will be a challenge for the Sun Devils, but it will be a good challenge for them as they will get more exposure and be able to show their true potential against the best college players in the nation.