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Mercyhurst women making D1 hockey history in D.C.

Friday, January 6, 2017

It’s been hailed as “D1 in DC:” this weekend’s Division I women’s ice hockey contest between Mercyhurst and St. Lawrence universities at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

The Washington Pride, a college-prep girls ice hockey team based in Washington, D.C., is hosting the event. The Pride has produced many Division I players over the years, but this marks the first time that an NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey game has been hosted in the nation’s capital, according to a recent story in The Washington Post.

“We feel very fortunate to be part of this unique experience,” said Mercyhurst head coach Mike Sisti, who arrived in D.C. with his team on Thursday, and has been taking in the sights. “We usually don’t have this much time together, but we are on break so we’ve been able to visit many historic places.”

Sisti said the team has visited the Washington Monument, the White House, Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Capitol building, Lincoln Memorial and the Pentagon. He also said the team has walked the route and witnessed all the preparations for the upcoming Inaugural Parade for President-Elect Donald Trump.

“Educationally, this has been a once-in-lifetime opportunity for our players,” Sisti said. Come Friday afternoon, though, it’s all about the ice. The Lakers will practice in the afternoon, then on Saturday, the puck drops at 1:10 p.m., followed by another game on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Sisti said Washington Pride Director and Head Coach Kush Sidhu is known for his leadership in the growth and development of ice hockey for females in the U.S. According to The Washington Post, “The Washington Pride program has produced a Division I player in 14 of the last 15 high school graduating classes. Including Division III, the Pride has sent a player to college hockey every year since 1995.” Sisti said Mercyhurst has been a beneficiary of the Pride program, having had a couple of its alums become Lakers.

Following the jumpstart provided by Mercyhurst and St. Lawrence, the “D1 in DC” event is expected to return November 24-25, 2017, with The University of Wisconsin, Boston University, Minnesota State-Mankato, and Northeastern University visiting for a four-game series.