LIVONIA, Mich (FOX 2) - Schoolcraft College recently announced the addition of men’s ice hockey to their field of varsity level sports. The team is slated to begin play in the fall of the 2024-2025 season.
This will be the first intercollegiate ice hockey team that the college has launched as part of the Schoolcraft College Athletic Department. All team members will be full-time students and follow the academic/eligibility guidelines of the college athletic department and their governing body.
The announcement is another step forward in accomplishing the goals set forth in the institution’s plan to add athletic opportunities for the student body, while also expanding enrollment within the college. The plan includes an effort to provide student-athletes the opportunity to compete at a higher level, while gaining collegiate experience as a student-athlete. The program hopes to also elevate the college’s profile and inspire the campus and surrounding communities to enthusiastically embrace Schoolcraft College athletics.
With the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) currently offering no sponsorship in ice hockey, the Ocelots will be a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). The program will play as a Division-II independent and will be one of a limited number of two-year colleges that participates in the ACHA.
Livonia native Dan Phelps has been hired to serve as the Head Coach of the newly-formed program. Phelps comes to Schoolcraft with 24 years of coaching experience, including 10 years at the high school level, six in Tier I youth hockey, two at the junior hockey ranks and six seasons in collegiate hockey, where he was the ACHA DI Head Coach, and ACHA Hockey Director at Adrian College.
"I’m extremely grateful and honored to be given this opportunity to lead the program for Schoolcraft College. I’m looking forward to the journey ahead and building a sustainable program that Schoolcraft College is proud to have in their athletic family," Phelps said. "I’d like to thank college president, Dr. Glenn Cerny and Athletic Director Patrick Yelsik, for their diligence in the work already put in, and their support to field a first-class program. I look forward to working with them as the program takes fruition."
As part of the athletic department’s family, the program will receive the opportunity to the amenities available to all the College’s sports teams. The goal is to play a hybrid schedule, competing with programs across all three ACHA divisions, which are predominantly all four-year institutions. As a member of the ACHA, the program will be a non-scholarship sport.
"This is yet another example of the College’s commitment to athletics and using it as a vehicle to contribute to our enrollment goals as well as increasing the opportunities that our students are afforded beyond the classroom," Yelsik said. "It’s the epitome of a win-win."
Home ice for the Ocelots will be Mike Modano Ice Arena in Westland.
"Adding men’s hockey as a top-level sport is a no-brainer for Schoolcraft College," Cerny said. "Being located in such a hockey-rich community such as Livonia, I can’t wait to cheer on the Ocelots when they take to the ice next year."
The roster for the inaugural team is currently being constructed. For those interested in becoming a part of the program, please submit a recruiting questionnaire or reach out to the coaching staff through the college athletics website at www.schoolcraftocelots.com.