GREAT FALLS — A new era begins this week at the University of Providence when the Argos’ men’s hockey team takes the ice for the first time ever, heading to Butte for the inaugural game against Montana Tech on Friday.
Coach Jeff Heimel built a winner at the junior level with the Great Falls Americans, and he looks to do the same with a young Argos roster featuring 22 players and 19 freshmen.
After a summer of team-building and four weeks of practice, both coach and players are ready for the next step.
“The list was long,” Heimel said. “We’ve been checking a lot of boxes off as we prepare for actually playing hockey. The recruiting was a huge component of that, obviously. We had to get a team here and now we have one and we’re looking at game operations and all sorts of fun stuff, but now we’re excited to play some hockey. We’ve run out of things to do in practice, so, yeah, we’re ready.”
Heimel’s two captains are players he’s familiar with, having coached them on the Americans. Erik Gatson and Josh Larson have seen firsthand how much Great Falls gets behind its hockey team, but it’s on a new level with the Argos.
“The entire energy and mood is different just because we’re the new kids on the block,” Gatson said. “So we’re really trying to prove ourselves, and it’s got a different feel than juniors, definitely.”
Providence plays mostly club hockey teams in its first-ever season, starting with the Tech Orediggers on Friday in Butte at 7:30 p.m.
The Argos will host Williston State in their first-ever home game Friday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Great Falls Ice Plex.