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CMCC to add hockey for 2016-17

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Central Maine Community College has announced that it will launch a men’s hockey program, to begin play in the 2016-17 season. The team plans to compete in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, an organization of over 415 college- and university-affiliated programs. Now celebrating its 24th season, the ACHA provides structure, regulates operations and promotes the quality of collegiate ice hockey.

The CMCC Mustangs will play an independent schedule for the first season. Some of the teams identified as possible opponents that year include Tufts University, Bryant University, the Coast Guard Academy, Bates College, USM, UNE, Dartmouth College, Thomas College and SNHU. All practices and home games will be played at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. College officials have been working closely with city officials to secure the necessary ice time.

“Bringing ice hockey to CMCC is the next logical step in increasing athletic opportunities for our students,” said school president Scott Knapp. “As everybody knows, Lewiston-Auburn is a hotbed for hockey, and with a new arena located less than a mile from campus, this is another opportunity for the school to showcase its athletic program.”

Athletic Director Dave Gonyea noted that the top priority now is to hire a coach who can recruit quality student-athletes and build the program from the ground up. “The hockey coach will spend the first year recruiting and making sure the team will be ready to go when the 2016-17 season starts next October,” he said.

Recalling that the college had a hockey team in the 1990s, Knapp observed that the time seemed right to bring the sport back to CMCC. “One big reason is the presence of a first-rate facility so close to our campus,” he said. “Also, we know that a significant number of high school varsity hockey players in Maine have been unable to find opportunities to play at the collegiate level. We expect that many such students will find Central Maine Community College to be an attractive option.”

“As I’ve seen firsthand, CMCC has been a place that can attract great athletes and help them channel that work ethic into the classroom and career preparation,” said Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte. “The addition of ice hockey not only creates expanded opportunities for young people have the community college experience, but adds to the growing importance of the Norway Savings Bank Arena as an anchor in our community.”

Those interested in learning more about hockey at CMCC should contact Dave Gonyea at 755-5251 or dgonyea@cmcc.edu.

Prospective students can also learn more at the school’s next Open House on Saturday, October 24, from 9 a.m. to noon.

 

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