The Spartans will be playing hockey in Canada’s top university league within a year. (TWU file photo)

Langley’s Spartans to play hockey in top university league

They’ll be facing off against the best teams in western Canada

The top level of university hockey will soon be played in Langley.

The Trinity Western University (TWU) men’s and women’s hockey teams were officially voted into the Canada West conference beginning in the 2020/21 season.

This elevates the Spartans hockey teams to the U Sports level, Canada’s top tier of university sports.

The application was approved on Thursday (May 9) during the final day of the Canada West annual general meeting in Whistler.

“Today is an historic day that represents the end of a long journey and the beginning of a new era in Spartan Athletics for TWU,” said director of athletics Jeff Gamache.

The Spartans move to Canada West has been a collaborative process with the Township of Langley, the Langley Events Centre, and a variety of key constituents within the hockey community.

The men’s team will compete for the David Johnson University Cup, while the women’s team battles for the Golden Path Trophy.

“Having another two teams playing at the highest level of their respective sport will only add to the excitement here in Langley,” said Tyler Dinwoodie, associate director production services for Langley Events Centre.

“We look forward to watching the puck drop on their respective seasons in 2020 and welcoming some of the elite programs from across western Canada to the Township.”

Trinity Western is one of two new member schools voted in to join hockey, alongside Edmonton’s MacEwan University.

They join the University of Alberta, UBC, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, University of Manitoba, Mount Royal University, the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan.

The TWU women’s team came under the Spartans umbrella in 2018 and currently competes in the South Coast Women’s Hockey League.

The TWU men’s team is the two-time defending BC Intercollegiate Hockey League champion and have played in the league final four of the past five seasons, all under the guidance of head coach Barrett Kropf.

“We’re really excited for Spartan hockey to see both men’s and women’s teams make the jump to the top level of university hockey in the country,” Kropf said. “It’s been a goal of ours for quite a while, so we’re really excited for the opportunity and very thankful that the other Canada West members felt there was a need for continued growth and opportunities for top junior players to pursue being student- athletes.”

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