Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
If you live in the Valley you are probably starving for hockey as the lockout continues to drag on and on. Unlike cities like Toronto or Chicago, Phoenix does not have an AHL team, and our CHL team, the Arizona Sundogs, are all the way up in Prescott. However, many of us are beginning to discover there is an alternative, a very successful team in the Phoenix Metro Area where you can watch quality hockey for a very low price. That team is the Arizona State University Sun Devils.
The ASU Sun Devils are a club team, but they are probably the most successful hockey team in Arizona right now and one of the better college hockey teams in the country. The Sun Devils play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, a league which has some very talented players, especially on the Division 1 level. The Sun Devils have been a dominant force in the league and have yet to lose a match this season. They have an 8-0 record and are ranked #2 in the entire league.
ASU's rising status in the hockey world makes it easier for them to attract new talent from across North America. The team has even begun to attract transfers from NCAA schools including players from Canisius College, St. Anselm's College, Nichols College, and UMass Boston. ASU's increased profile is also earning them a lot of notoriety around the hockey world. They have been invited to play at the University of British Columbia in a festival tournament and will be playing against newest NCAA Division 1 team in the country, Penn State.
Yotes fans will appreciate the connections between the Coyotes and the Sun Devils. Shane Doan is an honorary captain and Paul Bissonnette has dropped the puck at one of the games. Fans will also notice that BizNasty's Sauce Hockey brand advertises at the arena and you can pick up some of his merchandise at the Pro Shop at the facility.
The Sun Devils do need a few more things before they can become the success story they are so close to being. They need a new place to play, as their current arena is much too small and lacks some of the amenities many fans are used to, and they need a larger fan base. The arena problem will hopefully be solved as it appears an expansion will be built onto the Oceanside Ice Arena soon. The other challenge the team has is attempting to grow their fan base. Hopefully, in the future, hockey fans from across the Valley will come out to support this excellent hockey program.