One member of Liberty University’s ACHA Division I men’s hockey team and four members of the Lady Flames’ Division I women’s hockey team traveled to Krasnoyarsk, Russia, this week to represent Team USA in the 29th Winter World University Games.
The biennial event is a multi-sport festival similar to the Winter Olympics and will feature more than 3,000 collegiate athletes from around the world. Event coverage be can streamed live on multiple platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Junior forward Quinn Ryan is the second Flames men’s hockey player to compete in the Games (forward Luke Hannon played in Granada, Spain, in 2015). Ryan ranks 10th among ACHA DI scorers with 24 goals and 33 assists.
“It’s exciting for the university and a tribute to the quality of players we’re bringing into the program,” said Kirk Handy, head coach of the DI men’s hockey team.
This is the first year that Lady Flames players have been selected. Senior forward Lauren McDonald, junior forward Vanessa DeMerchant, junior defenseman Dana McLeod, and sophomore forward Shelby Bradford were chosen to the 24-player Team USA roster from the 23 ACHA DI teams.
“That’s great representation for our team,” said Chris Lowes, head coach of the women’s DI team. “It is a big honor. It is going to be a great cultural experience and something they will remember forever.”
Team USA’s men’s hockey team opened against Czech Republic on Friday, March 1 before playing four more preliminary games — against Hungary on March 3, Russia on March 5, Slovakia on March 7, and Japan on March 9 — with the top four teams advancing to the March 11 semifinals.
For more on this story, see this week's Altavista Journal.