FOREST CITY - The word is going to get out.

Doug G. Ross, Waldorf College's new men's hockey coach, said he's convinced potential students and fans are going to hear about the new program and want to be part of it.

"There are a lot of players that want the opportunity to play hockey," Ross said.

Although Iowa may not have lots of high school teams on ice, Mason City has a team, Des Moines does, Albert Lea, Minnesota does too, Ross said.

Ross also counts on his connections with other coaches across the country to help bring athletes to Waldorf. He's been coaching for nearly 30 years most of those at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Ross took over a young club program in Huntsville in 1982 and moved it to the NCAA Division II level where it won two national championships. Ross had coached at Huntsville until 2006. Ross said he retired then to spend more time with his family including his son Jared who plays for the Atlanta Thrashers in the NHL.

Waldorf's program will play at the club level and start in 2011-2012. The team will practice and play in Albert Lea.

Play won't start until next year but Ross' work starts now.

Ross needs to finish equipment purchases and finalize other details for students.

He wants to recruit students who can start in January of this school year and those who can start school in the fall.

"My challenge as a coach is to recruit student athletes," Ross said. "First of all, they need to have as strong academic background."

Hockey players must be successful in academics and must represent the program and school well on the ice and off the ice, Ross said.

Ross and Jessica McBride of Waldorf and Columbia Southern University's marketing and communications department said in an interview last week they didn't not have details on the budget of the hockey program.

Rick Cooper, Waldorf's vice president of operations, said the tuition received from hockey players will go toward the program.

Ross said the team will likely play club teams and some other colleges. Iowa has club teams in cities such Des Moines, he said.

"There are more (club) teams to the east of here," Ross said.

Just like potential players, when the word gets out, club teams will want to play Waldorf, Ross said.

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