With the NHL announcing it's plan to return last week, one major story in the hockey world slipped through the cracks. The University of Alabama - Huntsville Men's Hockey team was set to close down shop and end it's program just over a week ago, that is, until the hockey world (and private donors) stepped in and raised a shit ton of money to revive the program.
One week after the school announced that the Chargers men’s hockey program would be eliminated immediately, alumni and supporters who started a Go Fund Me account raised more than $500,000 to revive the program to play in the 2020-21 season, athletic director Cade Smith announced Friday. In addition, two donors will contribute $125,000 each, and the school will start an advisory board of hockey alumni, local business leaders and major donors tasked to save the program beyond the upcoming season.
“We are hopeful that this support will translate into a sustainable funding model that will allow the UAH hockey program to rise again to high levels of success,’’ university President Darren Dawson said in a statement.
Being the college hockey nerd that I am, hearing that the UAH was ending their program was pretty shitty. It's actually a program that has always interested me. Why you ask? I have no fucking clue to be honest. I came across them on twitter a couple years back and saw they played at a pretty sick rink in Alabama and for some reason have liked them ever since. I have always wanted to see southern schools get in the mix in college hockey as well, I think it would be great for the sport.
UAH has provided the NHL with some talent too. Calgary Flames goalie Cam Talbot and former Philadelphia Flyers center Jared Ross, who both made large donations to the UAH with the hopes of keeping the program alive, played for the Chargers during their NCAA days.
Another reason I want the UAH team to stick around? Because when the University of Alabama eventually decides to make the jump from the ACHA to the NCAA, the in-state rivalry will be bananas and so awesome for the game. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like southern sports fans love NCAA rivalries. I have been saying it for years, NCAA hockey NEEDS to move West and South. So luckily for all the Bama hockey fans and college hockey fans across the country, UAH isn't going anywhere.