Five years ago, when TJHN was little more than an afterthought in many people’s minds I wrote a story concerning Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Simon Fraser considering NCAA hockey.
While many shot the story down as rumor and speculation on my part, nearly five years later, that interest is being officially confirmed by Simon Fraser’s new Athletic Director Theresa Hanson.
Hanson is now saying publicly that Simon Fraser is putting together a plan to bring NCAA D-1 Hockey to the school. The school is so serious about making the move that a consultant has been hired by the school to assist in determining the viability and implementation of a business model that could be supported by the university.
Simon Fraser, the only non-U.S. school within the NCAA’s 1,121-school membership, currently competes as a Div. 2 school and are members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Simon Fraser now has 15 sports including men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, and track and field as well as football, softball and women’s volleyball. However association rules allow them to compete in one men’s and one women’s sport at the NCAA Division 1 level.
Funding? Well they are working on that.
Simon Fraser’s long walk toward NCAA Hockey wouldn’t even be on the table if its athletic infrastructure wasn’t already in place.
Despite being just a few seasons into its NCAA existence, Simon Fraser’s scholarship endowment fund already sits at around $11.5 million, and Hanson says its a goal of the school to reach $20 million or more within the next five to 10 years. That goal is very reasonable.
Simon Fraser already has a CIS team, made mainly of Major Junior players who are continuing their educations while using their Major Junior education packages.
And if you think NCAA programs in Alaska, Arizona and Colorado don’t want another team as a travel partner you simply don’t understand the business of this game.
How do they travel down the NCAA road? Much work is yet to be done. There is a rather clear path to making this a reality for Simon Fraser. The only question for Simon Fraser is whether or not they will take more than just these first few steps along the path. Our sources say that what may be a few steps now, could turn into a run down the path rather quickly.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher