May the SFU Purple Leafs make NCAA Div. I males's hockey work?

Longtime membership group coach Mark Coletta believes that it might and he is landed video games in opposition to famous powers like Michigan and Boston Faculty to assist create buzz

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Mark Coletta believes a self-funded SFU Purple Leafs males’s hockey group might be contenders in NCAA Div. I inside 5 seasons. 

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The subsequent step to taking a crack at that: getting SFU to start out a Varsity program.

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Coletta, 47, has been head coach of the SFU membership group since 2008. They play an everyday season schedule in opposition to different college membership squads within the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League, and Coletta’s been including on NCAA exhibition video games for a number of seasons now, with hopes of at some point parlaying the knowledge gathered and the contacts gained into being added as a full-fledged member of the SFU’s athletic program.

This season appears like they’re going out of their strategy to get observed. SFU supplied the opposition within the residence opener final month of the College of Michigan Wolverines, the alma mater of present Vancouver Canucks captain Quinn Hughes, amongst others. SFU dropped an 8-1 choice in Ann Arbor, Mich., to a Wolverines squad that featured 9 NHL draft picks and was ranked No. 6 within the NCAA final week.

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The Purple Leafs have been in Colorado Springs, Colo., final weekend and fell 6-3 to the Colorado Faculty Tigers. Different video games of word on their schedule embrace a Jan. 5-6 doubleheader on the street in opposition to the Boston College Terriers and the Boston Faculty Eagles. Boston College was No. 1 in final week’s NCAA ballot, Boston Faculty was No. 4.

SFU took its numerous Varsity packages to NCAA Div. II in 2010, transferring from the U Sports activities Canada West Convention, the place they performed regional rivals just like the UBC Thunderbirds. Since there’s no nationwide championship event in Div. II males’s hockey, they’re eligible to have a Div. I group.

“Simply to be teaching in these form of video games and people form of environments makes me need to be at that degree full time much more,” Coletta stated of the journeys to Michigan and Colorado Faculty. “Whenever you see that degree, it’s a motivating issue.”

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Coletta believes that SFU might compete in that five-year span in Div. I largely due to the expertise pool within the province. The 17-team Junior A B.C. Hockey League is the highest NCAA feeder league in Canada. It listed 170 NCAA commitments on its groups at present on its web site as of Thursday afternoon.

“We proceed to export expertise once we might be conserving it right here,” Coletta stated. “SFU is the one college with NCAA designation in Canada and we don’t have a hockey group? It’s a simple choice in my thoughts.”

Then athletic director Theresa Hanson stated again in April 2016 that SFU was eager about having a Div. I hockey group and commissioned an Atlanta, Ga., firm Collegiate Consulting to look into what a program may cost a little. They put collectively a 92-page report by January 2017, and it had an working price range coming in at $1.5 million US.

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Coletta believes that his group can run the group for between $850,000 to $1 million per season on the Div. I degree. He additionally says that they will provide you with that cash with none college funding.

“Make no mistake — we’re not trying to take cash from one of many different packages. We don’t need any individual else’s piece of the pie,” stated Coletta. “We’ve all the time been self-funded and that can proceed to be our purpose.

“I’m 100-per-cent assured on the Div. I hockey degree that SFU would entice the native enterprise neighborhood to assist assist us. I’m 100-per-cent assured we might make this work by way of the price range.”

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There’s large competitors for the patron greenback within the hockey area within the Decrease Mainland, with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks, WHL’s Vancouver Giants and numerous Junior A groups all vying for no matter doesn’t go the NHL’s Canucks. Coletta doesn’t dispute that. He factors to the NCAA’s restricted schedule — Michigan has 19 residence video games slated for this season, as an example — and the truth that all of the video games are on weekends as distinction makers.

SFU hockey performs out of Invoice Copeland Enviornment in Burnaby.

“How laborious would it not be to promote NCAA hockey right here for seven or eight weekends? That’s what we’re speaking about in all probability to start out,” Coletta stated. “You’re not trying to fill the place for 30 nights. You’re not trying to promote tickets on some random Tuesday night time in the course of the winter.”

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The most important stumbling block for Coletta and Co. is that SFU has a lot to kind out earlier than they get to serious about something like including a hockey group.

SFU is with out an athletic director. Hanson and the varsity agreed to half methods in August.

The college can also be deciding the destiny of its soccer program. It’s at present in limbo. The college had commissioned impartial adviser Bob Copeland to look into “choices and seek for a sustainable method ahead,” after alumni and different members of the soccer neighborhood had complained vehemently when it was introduced in April that the group was being shut down successfully instantly. That got here solely days after spring apply to arrange for the 2023 season.

This system, which dates again to 1965, has produced a number of CFL stars, however it’s struggled since transferring to NCAA Div. II, together with going 4-62 over the previous seven seasons.

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Copeland’s 136-page report got here out final month and it was essential of your entire athletic division, together with mentioning that one workers member informed him that “athletic division morale is at an all-time low.”

Copeland wrote that “there’s not a transparent, unencumbered path for the reinstatement of SFU soccer.” As effectively, he additionally wrote that previous to soccer’s cancellation there was a structural price range deficit within the athletic division “as excessive as $1.77 million that had been rising over the previous a number of years.” He additionally wrote that one workers member informed him that the athletic division “can not make strategic choices presently. We’re handcuffed by the price range.”

Contacted by way of e mail on Thursday, an SFU spokesperson had no replace on the soccer choice or the seek for a brand new athletic director.

[email protected]

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