TEMPE, Ariz -- The Arizona State hockey team reached new heights last season.
They topped the ACHA rankings for the first time in program history, and later made their deepest postseason run ever, reaching the Final Four.
With an influx of new talent augmented a deep and skilled returning group, many expect the Sun Devils to take home the national championship next spring.
The new season kicks off this Friday night, when ASU plays host to San Diego State, and the players will be enjoying an even greater home ice advantage when the puck drops.
Over the offseason, the team built an entirely new facility onto the side of their home rink of Oceanside Ice Arena. Thanks to the generosity of a handful of donors, the 3,000-square foot addition houses a brand new locker room, weight room, player's lounge anc coach's office.
Recently completed, the Sun Devils are already noticing the impact.
"Already In one week I have noticed such a different culture," said ASU head coach Greg Powers. "On day one, I think our entire roster was in the new room an hour before practice. The players like being at the rink and around each other now more than ever."
This year's squad features a number of new faces, so that extra bonding time will be key during the early weeks of the season.
"We have had a very healthy culture and chemistry but its a whole different level right so far at this point, especially with so many new guys. It's like they have been together for years and I think alot of it has to do with this room."
In addition to the new facilities, the team will also sport new uniforms this year.
Sporting the school's new pitchfork logo, the white home and black road sweaters provide the team a sharp new look.
Mitch Terrell, the team's marketing director and chief reporter, took me on a behind-the-scenes tour of the new digs last week, so be sure to check out the new ameneties that the Sun Devils shall enjoy as they make their way to a title.
The Sun Devils drop the puck this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe. Adult tickets are just $10, with kids getting in for just $5. Tickets can be purchased here.