SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A new sports team is coming to Western New England University.

The school is bringing in a women's ice hockey team in 2020.

"We're very excited to be adding a twentieth varsity sport to, what is already, a very competitive athletic department," Western New England University Athletic Director Matt LaBranche tells us.

A big announcement from Western New England University today, school officials saying they will be adding another sport to their Division III athletic program.

"We're thrilled to be introducing the women's ice hockey program, which will be adding twenty to twenty-five new opportunities for young women," says LaBranche.

Western New England University says, over the next year, they will be building the team with plans for the women to hit the ice in 2020.

"In terms of evaluating, [and] providing more opportunities for women, we look at sports that are growing, and women's ice hockey is a blossoming sport amongst women, a very popular sport amongst women at the youth levels and the high school levels, and we feel like we're meeting a demand," continued LaBranche.

LaBranche tells Western Mass News Katie Zimmerman, an assistant coach from Amherst College, will be the new team's head coach.

"We'll have a full year of having Katie on board to recruit a roster, and for us to build out some of the other relationships, from a conference standpoint, and develop the program in terms of equipment and the relationship with the rink and those details," added LaBranche.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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