Esports and Women’s Ice Hockey to take on new classification next year: Two clubs moved up to competitive level this month

Megan Julian, Sports Editor

Esports and Women’s Ice Hockey will officially become club sports in the fall of the 2020-2021 academic year. 
The Student Senate voted to move these two clubs to the competitive level on Monday, Feb. 10. Club sport proposals were given by the Women’s Ice Hockey Club, Esports Club, Ballroom Dance Club and the Hawkettes Dance Team.

According to Article Six of the Student Senate Bylaws, applying clubs must maintain full club status for at least two years before applying to move up and maintain an active member list for those two years. If the group’s Club Sport application form is approved by the Clubs and Organization Committee, the club can then make its proposal.

The committee raised questions to each of the clubs in order to determine which should move up to competition level. Assistant Athletic Director for Club Sports and Fitness Mark Andreozzi and Associate Director of Student Programs, Leadership and Orientation Adrianne Harris were also there to question the presidents and treasurers of each club, in order to make sure the committee could come up with a decision. 
The committee’s final decision was based on a number of different factors. For Women’s Ice Hockey, Lafontaine said the club’s proposal presented compelling concerns. The team said it currently does not have time or funding to go on the ice. The women’s team has partnered with the men’s team in the past in order to get ice time, but that was not enough. For the club to be able to survive, it needs to compete.
“Their team does not have the funding to hold their own practices and get to the ice, which is something they need,” Lafontaine said. 
Esports Club, a competitive, organized video gaming club, was moved up as a result of its increasing popularity in schools nationwide. According to Lafontaine, club membership on campus is constantly growing, and the committee was impressed by the club’s proposal.
“Esports is the new realm,” Lafontaine said. “This is something that universities are looking at and honing in on.” 

Andreozzi also addressed how popular esports is becoming.

“Championships in esports [were] never done two years ago. That is how much growth it has had,” Andreozzi said. 

Both clubs moving up to competitive level means they are now in “Class B,” which will bring some changes for the clubs.

“Some of the biggest changes are that they will no longer have an advisor. They will have coaches,” Harris said.

“They will begin to have regular practice times with coaches there and constant training. Unlike just being in a regular club, there is a heavy social aspect now [with] being a club sport. This gives the teams the opportunity to move up another level and truly compete.”

Harris said Andreozzi will be a part of the hiring process when the teams begin looking for coaches.  

Andreozzi believes this will give the teams a better opportunity.

“This allows for them to have the ability to compete against more universities and colleges playing in their league. Now the Women’s Ice Hockey Team will be competing in the American College Hockey Association at the Division Two level, which gives them the opportunity to do more,” Andreozzi said. 

Students in the soon-to-be club sports believe this change will benefit their clubs. 

Justin Blanchard, a junior on the Esports Team, is one of the team captains. He believes the new distinction will be extremely beneficial. 

“Being a club sport will make the club reach another level and take it to bigger and better places,” Blanchard said. “By moving up a class, it will make the club more attractive. It could definitely help with involvement, since people will see that the club is progressing.” 

In regards to the other groups that made proposals this year, Ballroom Dance Club and the Hawkettes, the committee believes they need additional time to prosper and raise more money.