This is a blog I have been wanting to write for a while but wanted to wait until the time of year where hockey news was most dead and with the NHL/NHLPA/College Hockey Inc. feasibility study currently being conducted to see which schools should invest in D1 hockey and the recent news that The University of Illinois will be adding a hockey program, I decided to look at five schools who should invest in college hockey.
1.) The University of Alabama
Twitter – @AlabamaHockey
Alabama might have one of the most legitimate club hockey programs in the entire country. I started following the program when I was in college because my brother was going through the college hockey recruiting process and I thought he should of went there and played. I heard crazy things, that it was basically a D1 program already but with just less commitment. And everything I heard was right. The team does Meet & Greats, signs autographs, plays in packed barns and has an unbelievable social media/broadcast team. Their website alone is better done and more informative than a majority of D1 teams.
SEC Football, a big school down south, and unbelievable style/jerseys. How could someone go on a recruiting trip to Bama and not leave without signing a letter of intent while yelling “Roll Tide”? Bama treats their athletes right, too. I mean, have you seen the football facilities? If the hockey team could get 1/10th of that it would basically be nicer than any facility in the country.
Twitter – @UofLIceHockey
Basketball probably won’t be Louisville’s thing for a little while. So why not invest in hockey? There is zero possible way Rick Pitino can screw it up. Louisville has a great club hockey program currently, with a great fan base. The team has great style and they can play. They are also part of one of the best rivalries in club college hockey.
3.) University of Kentucky
Twitter – @Kentucky_Hockey
There are a number of reasons why Kentucky should invest into D1 hockey. First, and foremost, they are apart of one of the best rivalries in all of club hockey. Louisville and Kentucky play each other in packed barns in the middle of no where, get in a fights, and best of all, the games are usually played at midnight.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. I’m all in on college hockey being played at midnight. If that’s what it takes to pack a rink in the middle of Kentucky for some college hockey, then I couldn’t be more all in. What an advantage that is, too. You know those Kentucky players bodies are trained for that. Imagine the fans too? At Plymouth State, they had to change the times of all games to 6pm because the students would get too drunk before the games when they were scheduled for 8pm. Imagine how buckled the kids at Kentucky are for this game? Imagine how much fun that would be? No luck at the bar? Go watch some midnight hockey absolutely crushed and yell some shit at players from Louisville. Sounds like a blast.
Hey NCAA, Want to grow the game? Put a college hockey program at the University of Kentucky. The people want midnight hockey.
Twitter – @USCHockey
Another well run program in the ACHA. How could you not want to go play college hockey at USC? Saturdays spent at the Coliseum, living in California, the Campus, the girls, it’s a no brainer. If USC opts for D1 hockey, they’ll be running the show by 2030 in no time.
Anyone you talk to who plays for Arizona State will tell you, being able to walk to the rink from the pool in flip flops is an experience worth playing for. USC also plays some games at the Staples Center AFTER Kings games. That could get rowdy. Free attendance if you attended the Kings game? Thatd be a blast. Not sure if people in LA would be down for watching like 5 straight hours of hockey, but hey, LA just got Iyla Kovalchuk so maybe he suddenly turns the entire city into hockey guys.
College hockey needs a presence in California though, and USC is the spot to do it.
Twitter – @Oregon_Hockey
I think it’s pretty obvious why I picked Oregon. If you look good, you feel good, then you’ll play good. And let’s be real, the second Phil Knight catches wind of the Ducks adding a hockey program, it’s basically inevitable we’ll see the return of Nike-Bauer. So not only will college hockey be blessed with amazing uni’s on a nightly basis from the Ducks, we also get the return of Nike-Bauer and hopefully the One90. What a stick that was.
There is a love for hockey in the northwest part of America and there is also a major lack of hockey in the northwest part of America. With the NHL eventually coming to Seattle, it is a no brainer to put a d1 team in the pacific northwest. It really isn’t that tough of a concept to understand. Grow the game. Fans will come.
There are plenty of other schools who deserved recognition and should start D1 programs and eventually, I’ll get to them. But hopefully my pals over at the NHLPA and NCAA take a look at this blog and realize that this blog is genius and could single handedly change hockey and the NCAA forever. The NCAA likes making money, right? So invest in hockey, and the money will come.