Adrian College, a liberal-arts school located about 90 minutes from Detroit in Adrian, Mich., will join the ranks of hockey-playing Division III schools, it was announced Monday morning.
Dr. Jeffrey R. Docking, Adrian College president, made the announcement that the school is breaking ground next week on the Arrington Ice Arena, a $5.5 million indoor, on-campus facility.
The arena will enable the College to offer four new athletics programs by the 2007-08 season: intercollegiate men’s hockey, intercollegiate women’s hockey, intercollegiate synchronized skating, and men’s club hockey.
“The Arrington Ice Arena is an exceptional opportunity for athletes from the Midwest and beyond who are interested in playing ice sports at the Division III level,” Docking said.
The next closest school to currently offer NCAA Division III hockey is Lake Forest College, outside Chicago. The only other Division III hockey-playing school in Michigan is Finlandia University, located 12 hours away in the Upper Peninsula.
“Michigan is a hockey state, and synchronized skating is an up-and-coming sport. For high school seniors interested in pursuing ice sports at the Division III level, Adrian will be the place to come,” he said.
An “ice-breaking” ceremony is scheduled Oct. 3 to mark the start of construction. Building will continue through the winter, and the facility will open Aug. 1, 2007.
Adrian College is currently searching for head coaches for the new ice sports.
“We believe that offering intercollegiate programs in an on-campus facility will bring a depth to our pool of candidates,” said Rick Creehan, executive vice president. “We expect to attract assistant coaches from some of the top Division I programs.”
The College is investigating league options for intercollegiate hockey. It may start out as a Division III independent.
The facility will be open for use by the community. It will offer lessons as well as league play for men, women and children.
A pro shop, snack bar and other eating facilities, and on-site parking will be available.
“This facility will help us ‘regionalize’ Adrian,” Docking said. “We will draw people to this area whose only reason for coming is the ice arena.”
The arena is named after Dr. Robyn Arrington Jr. and his brother, fellow Adrian alumnus Col. Harold Arrington. The brothers donated $3 million on behalf of their family.
The rest of the funds were raised through a variety of sources, including in part through generous donations from area businesses and individuals.
The arena will be located south of the stadium, near the Merillat Sport & Fitness Center.
Adrian just dedicated a new performance stadium last weekend. The stadium and ice arena are part of the Renaissance Plan, an initiative to raise enrollment and improve academics that was started a year ago when Dr. Docking became president. The size of the freshman class went up by about 100 students this fall.