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Aquinas College Hockey Gets New Home | News

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Aquinas College Hockey Gets New Home
 Aquinas College Hockey Gets New Home

News Release:

Aquinas College hockey will have a new home beginning in fall 2015. The college has recently signed a five-year agreement with the Southside Ice Arena in Byron Center, Michigan. Coached by Mark VanVliet, the Aquinas Saints men’s hockey team enters its fourth year of collegiate play in fall 2015. The 2015-2016 academic year will be the inaugural year for the Aquinas Saints women’s hockey program, under the leadership of head coach Katie O’Brien.

"The Southside ownership and arena operators are much in tune with the growth of women's hockey in Michigan,” said O'Brien. “They are welcoming us with open arms."

The agreement with Southside Ice Arena gives Aquinas’ teams a home venue with a variety of amenities, including:

  • Two sheets of ice
  • A heated, modern viewing area for spectators
  • A large community room for college use
  • Workout facilities for athletes and team workouts
  • Large, well-lit parking lot
  • Storage areas
  • Laundry facilities
  • Snack bar


"We are excited about this partnership,” said Aquinas Athletic Director Terry Bocian. “It is a win-win situation with Aquinas College getting an outstanding home for its program and Southside getting a solid, collegiate tenant in Aquinas College.”


Southside Ice Arena is also constructing two new locker room exclusively for use by the Aquinas hockey teams. Equal for both men and women, Aquinas Athletics will have access to the locker rooms year-round. Additionally, an annual two-hour open skate time will be available for all Aquinas students, and as of fall 2015, Aquinas’ logo will be added to the center ice.

"The venue, amenities, and preferred scheduling we will have at Southside is a definite plus in our recruiting of hockey student-athletes," said VanVliet.

Southside Ice Arena General Managers Mike Slobodnik and Travis Richards are both alumnus of collegiate hockey programs. Slobodnik played for the University of Wisconsin Stevens' Point and Richards for the University of Minnesota.

"We are both former college hockey players and realize the value of a college hockey experience,” said Slobodnick. “We fully understand the goals of the Aquinas hockey programs. Aquinas College fits perfectly into the growth for Southside Ice Arena. The arena is now home to Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School, Unity Knights High School hockey program, over 350 youth hockey players in the Michigan Nationals program, and a respected collegiate institution.”