Women's hockey returns to Cape Breton University
Hockey season is almost back and when it arrives Cape Breton University will dress a women's team for the first time in years -- joining a four-team, non-varsity league.
There's hope it will lead to an AUS team at some point in the future.
It's been more than three years since women had the chance to play hockey for the Capers, but soon they will be part of the East Coast Women's Hockey League.
"Over the last two to three years, girls have been coming here asking the university and myself … they want a place to play," said head coach Derek Hayes.
The announcement that hockey is back was made Tuesday night.
The non-varsity league of club teams will also consist of squads from Holland College, Acadia and the University of New Brunswick.
The hope is to grow the league and have more teams come onboard and maybe one day join the Atlantic University Sport women's league.
"That would be above my pay grade," Hayes said. "The hope right now is we initiate a team. We give them a platform to play and showcase their talent. What happens in the future is really out of our hands. But we're just happy they are here playing hockey."
Christina Lamey is the president of Blizzard Hockey, an all-girls association in collaboration with Glace Bay Minor Hockey.
"We are very excited about it," Lamey said. "I think it speaks well for the longevity of hockey for girls in the area."
They've seen numbers grow over the last year at the minor level and say the Capers will give women a place to play well into the future.
"It gives the young girls something to look forward to," Lamey said. "One of the things that was always missing for girls hockey was that there was no junior. So having a university comeback is wonderful news."
Hayes said the presence of the team should also help the university attract students.
"It has to help with recruiting," he said. "We can sell the hockey team perspective to students that want to play hockey.
It's been more than 20 years since Cape Breton University iced a men's hockey team. With the announcement last night that women's hockey is back. Some are wondering if it's time to bring back a men's team.
"I think people will make that leap on their own," Hayes said. "Certainly there is no conversation about that at this point in time, but that is something President Dingwall would have to entertain and see where it goes."
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore.