Northland to add women’s program for 2016-17 season

Northland announced Monday that it will add women’s hockey for the 2016-2017 season.

The school, which has a men’s team playing in the NCHA, has already begun a search for a coach.

“The driving force behind the decision is the continued growth of hockey and Northland’s location, central in a region renowned for highly competitive play,” said men’s coach Seamus Gregory in a statement. “We know that there are young women who want to play and we’d like to make it available.”

In the Northland region alone, 25-30 girls under the age of eight play hockey for Ashland Youth Hockey and Gregory, who along with his players, volunteers with the program.

“Having both men’s and women’s NCAA Division III ice hockey programs will allow the college to offer an even more comprehensive and equitable intercollegiate athletic program,” added Northland president Michael A. Miller. “They also increase our ability to serve the needs of excellent studentathletes who want to play here.”

Northland is currently working with the Bay Area Civic Center and the City of Ashland on plans to add a women’s locker room at the Civic Center.

“Growing any sport is exciting and this is one of the larger growing sports – along with lacrosse – and it’s exploding in the Midwest and in the NCAA,” Gregory said.