April 21, 2022
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Athletics Department announced a multi-year plan to enhance the College’s athletics programming for years to come, including the return of men’s ice hockey to North Adams along with the implementation of a women’s ice hockey program. Plans also identify athletic facilities upgrades including replacement of the turf at Shewcraft Field, and a fundraising campaign to support the installation of turf at the baseball and softball fields.
“This exciting news continues the progress made with the revitalized, state-of-the-art Trailblazer Fitness Center renovation in 2020,” said MCLA President James F. Birge. “This multi-year plan is a further investment in our athletics program and the overall experience we provide our students and student-athletes. Positive student experiences help support retention, and we’re excited to continue to enhance our athletic facilities and offerings for students to enjoy.”
Both men’s and women’s ice hockey teams are scheduled to begin competing in the 2023-24 academic year. MCLA will begin searching for coaches for each team this spring. While a women’s team will be a new addition, MCLA’s men’s ice hockey program has been dormant since the 2002-03 academic year and enjoyed a successful run during the late 90s and early 2000s.
MCLA Director of Athletics Laura Mooney said, “The college’s continued commitment to our athletics programs is exciting. These sweeping changes will provide our programs with the tools to be successful and will provide a better student-athlete experience while assisting in our recruitment efforts.”
Additional Facility Upgrades
Shewcraft Field is slated to be resurfaced during summer 2023. The field continues to be a tremendous recruiting tool and rivals many of the top playing surfaces in the region. Installed in 2007, the field has since served as the home for men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and a practice facility for other programs. While the infrastructure remains intact, the actual turf has reached the end of its life expectancy.
The College will also launch a fundraising campaign to turf the remaining Baseball and Softball fields at the Zavattaro Athletics Complex. The implementation of turf fields will help retain home games, aid in recruitment, and solidify practice schedules.
The James T. Amsler Campus Center Gymnasium floor is set to be resurfaced and repainted this summer. This upgrade will enhance the playing surface for volleyball and men's and women's basketball.
After a full review of the athletics programs, MCLA will discontinue its tennis programs due to dwindling interest. With the announced changes, MCLA will still sponsor 12 programs within its athletics department for fiscal year 2022-23. The department will expand to 14 programs with the addition of hockey.