The Cleary University athletic section will be introducing a new varsity sport to its presented packages in the fall of 2021.
The Cougars are kickstarting a women’s ice hockey program that will be led by previous Central Michigan College head coach Brittany Knopp. The former Finlandia University standout made the decision to just take the purpose at Cleary for the reason that it would make it possible for her to abide by her passion for the sport even though also presenting her players the greatest condition achievable for a university student-athlete.
“Hockey is a little something that I’ve generally been applied to and it is anything that actually just will make me happy in lifetime,” mentioned Knopp. “I required to carry on becoming associated with hockey in my vocation if I could, so when I got out of college or university, I started out choosing up coaching below and there and definitely loved it.
“After that, I begun coaching at Central and I certainly liked it. Cleary arrived at out to me to see if I would be intrigued in coaching their new women’s hockey software, so I decided to see what they had been prepared to offer gamers if they came to the system. As a former participant, the most important factor to me is getting the ideal for the players that I coach, and I consider Cleary is offering that, which is why I took this opportunity.”
The women’s ice hockey plan will not be a pay out-to-perform activity which was a pivotal providing level for Knopp, as the cost of actively playing hockey can be significantly costly to student-athletes who are currently paying out for their university schooling and living costs.
“Cleary made their hockey programs a no-shell out plan, which is excellent because it is sort of absurd to assume that university young children can manage to participate in faculty hockey,” she stated. “It’s an expensive sport to enjoy to start with on top of tuition and housing for college children.
“They were inclined to go over all of the bills from traveling, crew foods, and equipment. You do not discover that at the CCHA level at any time, so that was a little something that seriously set Cleary aside from all the other universities in my eyes.”
The Cougars will host situations at the Hartland Ice Residence, where by Knopp hopes to use her former experience as the supervisor of the Mt. Enjoyable Ice Arena to her benefit.
“When you know the rate of the ice, you actually get gain of it additional,” she explained. “When I initially started coaching, I would describe drills a great deal on the ice and commit time speaking with my crew when we were on the ice. Right after controlling an ice arena, I notice how useful ice time is, so we will do all of that in the locker space at Cleary. I’m heading to use my ice time for training only and which is genuinely served me into that transition into a new work.
“I feel just understanding the basics, figuring out the ice, the Zamboni and type of finding the full effect of what goes into generating ice hockey possible helps make you recognize it more. My time put in as a supervisor also assisted me get a much better comprehending of the fiscal side of factors and the background info of what almost everything charges.”
Cleary College at this time has 19 varsity athletics that are associates of the NAIA collegiate convention and are hoping to include women’s ice hockey to that record.
“We were accepted into the ACHA (American Collegiate Hockey Affiliation) Division II subject but more than the summer season, we were being contacted by the NAIA,” Knopp mentioned. “We felt that would be a better match for us due to the fact we are an NAIA school in most sports, so we now have place in an application for that and are just waiting to make certain we are accepted into that league.”
Knopp is hoping to insert 12 freshmen players to her method for the future year and make a competitive tradition from the get-go.
“I’m searching for players that want to keep on their hockey occupations whilst pursuing a job in organization due to the fact Cleary is a terrific small business university. At the end of the working day, my players are likely to want to graduate with that diploma and I can assist them go on their hockey professions at the exact same time.
“As their mentor, my major aim is to assist our players to get greater. Earning them much better players allows make us far better coaches in the method, so suitable off the begin, we’re likely to make a aggressive lifestyle in our program and earn some games.”
If all goes in accordance to Knopp’s five-12 months prepare, the women’s ice hockey software at Cleary should see lots of accomplishment.
“My initial calendar year, I just want to earn some video games,” she mentioned. “I’m not also fearful about the results, as very long as my women are out there competing difficult and just variety of creating the team’s identity. With any luck ,, the initially 12 months, we get some game titles, then the next yr, we’re over .500, and then I’m hoping the third calendar year, we can qualify for nationals. If we can access all of those plans in the initially several many years, I’m hoping we can go up to Division 1 by the fifth calendar year.
“Right now, our purpose is to be capable to practice 3 times a week, which will enable us to get greater in a hurry. We also have a power and conditioning coach and actually excellent assist staff members that I consider are geared toward supplying all of our gamers the option to be aggressive and make them into the most effective hockey gamers they can be.”
Cleary College announced in November of 2020 that the winter season sports activities seasons would be suspended until finally the Michigan Division of Health and Human Products and services authorized for speak to sports to resume.
“COVID has been the most significant obstacle so considerably,” Knopp reported of her begin at Cleary. “I experienced maybe a thirty day period of good recruiting in before all the things received shut down in March, so I’ve experienced to adapt to doing the job on line during the quarantine. That’s surely made this full approach of obtaining a plan began much far more hard.
“The dazzling aspect is that Cleary is giving COVID tests for all of their call sports 3 periods a 7 days, so that lets us to at least skate at the moment, but we’re hoping to be equipped to carry out ordinary procedures after Feb. 21.
“Right now, the women’s period is suspended right up until following yr, so we will be making use of this time period as extra of a building block for instruction and recruiting. Hopefully, by the time August rolls all around, we will not have all of these restrictions in put.”