Wilkes University will add men’s and women’s hockey to its list of NCAA Division III varsity sports, effective for the 2017-18 school year, and also announced an affiliation with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins organization that will allow Wilkes to practice and compete at the Toyota SportsPlex at Coal Street Park.
Wilkes University is located in Wilkes-Barre, Penn., and dedicated to academic and intellectual excellence through mentoring in the liberal arts, sciences, and professional programs.
“Adding men’s and women’s ice hockey to Wilkes University’s NCAA Division III sports roster helps fulfill several strategic initiatives,” Wilkes president Patrick Leahy said in a statement. “It will attract talented students both nationally and internationally and allow us to work with an outstanding community partner like the Penguins. Their commitment to growing ice hockey in the community ensures Wilkes’ program will be exceptional.”
“The Penguins are looking forward to helping Wilkes University develop a successful and prominent program in Division III hockey,” added WBS Penguins CEO Jeff Barrett. “They have been a leader both academically and athletically in Northeast Pennsylvania. Adding Colonels hockey to the Toyota SportsPlex, along with other youth programs such as the Junior Pens and Wyoming Seminary teams, will allow children in the community to pursue their hockey dreams throughout their formative years and into adulthood.”
“For several reasons, I am delighted that Wilkes University has announced the addition of men’s and women’s ice hockey,” said MAC executive director Ken Andrews. “The MAC places a high priority on offering a wide variety of sports, and Wilkes has been a leader in making that commitment in recent years by funding seven new intercollegiate teams. The MAC has experienced rapid growth in ice hockey as seven new programs (four men’s and three women’s) have been added in the past year.”
The school will begin a search for its new men’s head coach and women’s head coach immediately.