Midland University - Fremont, Ne

Fremont YMCA Partnership Brings College Hockey to Midland

Fremont YMCA Partnership Brings College Hockey to Midland

May 28th , 2013

Through an agreement reached with the Fremont Family YMCA, Midland University officials have announced the addition of Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey programs. The new programs will push the number of varsity sports on the Fremont campus to 27.

The quality of the Sidner Ice Arena was a critical factor in enabling the addition. Through a partnership designed to ensure YMCA facilities are used to the maximum benefit of the Fremont community, leaders of both organizations worked closely to make the dream of college hockey in Fremont a reality.

“We are fortunate to have great community partners like Dave Mitchell and Jerry Rinne that have helped ensure our student athletes will have a quality venue, close to campus, where they can practice and compete,” said Director of Development Kari Ridder.

With an agreement reached to make the Sidner Ice Arena the program’s permanent home for practice and competition, University officials have already begun securing scholarship support for future student athletes. With recruiting of the first teams set to get underway this fall, an announcement of a coaching search is expected in the near future.

Since 2009, the University has invested in expanding programs while elevating expectations and quality within extant sports. In the past year alone the University has enjoyed a trip to the NAIA Men’s Basketball elite eight, a Dance National Championship, a top ranked volleyball program, and a trip to the NAIA National Baseball Tournament.

Though no official decisions have been made regarding conference alignment, Midland aims to quickly build another championship caliber varsity program.

“We are excited to bring quality college hockey to Fremont,” said Midland President Ben Sasse, “We aren’t content to field a team. We want to establish a championship program that embodies the discipline and sacrifice necessary to attain excellence in competition and in life.”

As part of the University’s commitment to creating opportunities for students to pursue their passions, and develop skills for life, Midland has added 11 varsity sports in the past three years. The commitment to expanded opportunities to compete and become involved within a residential campus has driven record enrollment growth and resulted in an Athletic Department comprised of more than 600 student-athletes.

In that time enrollment on the Fremont campus has increased more than 86% and is now at record levels.

“The growth of Midland Athletics and specifically the addition of Ice Hockey, was only possible through the visionary forethought of the YMCA Board of Directors that formed a unique partnership with Midland eight years ago,” noted Kari Ridder.

The unique combination of a very large athletic program existing within a small, tight-knit community has been at the heart of rising attendance levels and enhanced game day atmospheres across the campus.

“The evidence is overwhelming that being engaged, and having a sense of purpose is a key determinant in student success,” said President Ben Sasse. “We are focused on opportunities for students to compete and learn. Hockey is a growing sport with vibrant youth leagues springing up in communities across the state, this is a great thing for the future.”

Midland is working with an exploratory committee to examine opportunities to help grow hockey programs in the region, evaluate leagues where Midland would best fit, and determine a coaching selection process.

While some details remain to be finalized, varsity college hockey is coming to Fremont in 2014.