Collegiate women’s hockey team hitting the ice this fall

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June 7, 2021
The vision of offering a women’s collegiate hockey team at Lakeland College is becoming a reality thanks to the hard work of many.
The team’s head coach, Morgan Mann, has been hired and the college is preparing to hit the ice this fall with the team.

“We’ve always stated the next logical league program to add at Lakeland College is women’s hockey,” says Alan Rogan, Lakeland’s athletic director. “When a very motivated group from the community came forward about a year ago, we started to look at the opportunity more seriously.” 

Both groups knew that operating and funding a women’s hockey program at the collegiate level would not be something they could do alone with the current challenges facing the community and provinces. After several meetings, both parties believed that a women’s hockey team could become a reality by collaborating and utilizing each other’s strengths.

“By working together, we believe we will be able to offer a competitive student-athlete experience for 18 to 22 female hockey players at Lakeland College,” says Mann, who led the community delegation before being hired as head coach. “Lloydminster has had a strong female elite hockey program. As one of six designated communities to have a U18 AAA program in Alberta, Lakeland is positioned to offer a natural progression for female hockey players in Lloydminster and area hoping to make it to the next level.”

The commitment to work together does not immediately mean that the team will be accepted into the ACAC Women’s Hockey League. As part of the ACAC governance procedures, Lakeland is required to apply to the conference. The application will be reviewed and hopefully approved for acceptance into the league for the fall of 2022. The team will play this season in the Alberta Junior Female Hockey League and will run as a club program under the Rustlers banner for the first year. 

One of the unique components of the agreement is that the women’s hockey program will raise the majority of its operational funding from the community.

“This is a very unique model to fund a college sports program but in discussions with the community group, we are optimistic that the community will support a women’s hockey program,” says Michael Crowe, Lakeland’s vice president, academic and research. “We are so fortunate to have such great communities in Lloydminster and Vermilion that support initiatives like this.”

While attending university, Mann won a CIS national championship with the Acadia Axemen. He also played on the Allan Cup-winning senior men’s hockey team in Lloydminster. Since 2016, he has worked in a coaching capacity with the Lloydminster Steelers women’s hockey program and was most recently the head coach of the U18 women’s hockey team for the 2020-2021 season. He is a teacher and counsellor in the Lloydminster Public School Division and is working on his masters in coaching studies.

“I like to use sport as an opportunity to make a young athlete a better person, character and citizen through the life lessons gained there,” Mann says. “As a school counsellor, I’m well-versed in the challenges today’s youth face. My best work as a counsellor has been connecting to individuals and helping them become more resilient through sport.”

Recruitment of student-athletes has already started, with 14 people signed to wear the Rustlers green and gold this fall. 

To learn about sponsorship opportunities, please  phone Morgan Mann at 306.307.4411.