Park University Gilbert launches Hockey program, opens tryouts

The Buccaneers are adding a new sport to the athletics department.

Park Gilbert will be in Division II as part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA).

For such a young athletic department (started in 2019), it’s impressive Director of Athletics Jeff Fore is bringing another ice hockey program to the desert.

“For a new school in the area, we hope to be a walking billboard to advertise the school and get people to recognize Park University by using the great game of hockey,” head coach Jeff Zimmel said. “Our expectations are to get get people excited about a new high level college hockey team and for our team to always compete at their best and that is all we can ask for.”

Zimmel and assistant coach Chris Sehring have work to do as they aim at about 20 to 25 players on the roster.

“Looking forward to an exciting first season,” Zimmel said. “Recruiting has been going well and this is another feather in our caps in the process of building a quality program.”

The 1988 St. Cloud State graduate has over 25 years of coaching experience, most recently at Coon Rapids High School in Minnesota and as a USA Hockey Level 4 coach.

The Bucs will call the Coyotes Community Ice Center in Mesa home.

Park Gilbert already has a couple LOI signings in center Tyler Ward and goaltender Blaise Becker for the upcoming season.

Ward is a state champion from Canyon Valley High School in Gilbert.

Becker is a graduate of Hempfield Area High School in Greensburg, Pennsylvania and maintained an .829 save percentage with 262 saves in 18 games.

“We are excited to get a goalie of Blaise’s caliber to sign with us in this first class,” Zimmel said. “He gives us a strong foundation between the pipes and is also a quality student and person.”

They’re opening up tryouts to add to their inaugural recruiting class.

Coach Jeff Zimmel’s contact info: (763) 489-8980