College Hockey: Alabama-Huntsville May Get Second Chance to Survive
Don't bury the UAH Chargers just yet.
A story in the Huntsville Times on Tuesday reported that the new president at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Robert Altenkirch, sat down with members of the Save UAH Hockey group. A plan is now supposedly underway to save the school's long-running NCAA Division-I men's ice hockey program, which was to be reduced to club status beginning in the fall of in 2012.
University chancellor Malcolm Portera had said in October that the varsity hockey team would be disbanded at the close of the current season due to increasing financial constraints. UAH, which will host the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa, has also been without a league home since the College Hockey America conference dissolved in 2010. The Chargers were the last CHA playoff champion and fell to Miami (Ohio) in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
The Chargers applied to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association for membership afterwards, but were rejected. The CCHA itself will no longer exist in the fall of 2013 when the new Big Ten Conference and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference both begin play. Both of those leagues absorbed several CCHA teams each, while the remaining CCHA schools have been accepted into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for 2013-14.
Financial details of the plan to save the UAH hockey program are expected to be released over the next few days, according to the article. The university itself has voiced no public commitment save for a brief paragraph.
UAH, the lone independent in NCAA Division-I hockey, is currently 1-15-1 on the season. The lone win came against Nebraska-Omaha on Dec. 2, a 3-2 decision in Nashville, Tenn. Nebraska-Omaha was ranked among the nation's top 25 teams at the time of that game.
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