In Dramatic Shift, Alabama Huntsville Announces Return For 2020-21

Alabama Huntsville

A successful fundraising campaign has saved Chargers hockey at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, ensuring a return to the ice this fall.

On May 22, UAH had announced the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic heightened budget complications and ultimately resulted in the termination of its Division I hockey program, in addition to the men’s and women’s tennis programs.

In the ensuing days, UAH fans and hockey enthusiasts stepped up to raise nearly $540,000 on a GoFundMe page in less than five days. Additionally, alumni pledged $250,000 to offer the University almost $800,000 to help the tradition of Chargers hockey carries on.

Just one week after the announcement of its termination, the University confirmed a return for the program in 2020-21.

“We are thankful and gratified from the loyal support that has been demonstrated this week by the fans and alumni of Charger hockey,” University President Darren Dawson said in a statement. “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.”

Among key supporters was NHL goaltender Cam Talbot, who has skated in 314 NHL games after playing for the Chargers from 2007-10. Talbot joined an advisory board for the program during the crowdsourced fundraiser.

The historic hockey program at UAH launched its inaugural season in 1979-80, where it operated as a successful club program through the 1984-85 season, winning three championships in those six seasons.

The program began the transition to a Division II team in 1985-86, but a lack of NCAA sponsorship made for the decision to go independent in Division I ahead of the 1987-88 season. Mediocre success and a return of NCAA sponsorship saw the program return to DII play in 1992-93, where it went to the championship game in three consecutive seasons and won two titles in 1996 and 1998.

The Chargers would ultimately return to DI status in 1998-99, becoming a founding member of College Hockey America (CHA) and claiming the conference’s regular-season titles in 2001 and 2003.

In 2006-07, the team earned its first DI National Tournament bid, losing in the Regional Semifinal to No. 1 Notre Dame in double overtime. Talbot joined the program the following season and led the team to its second National Tournament in 2010, again losing to the No. 1 (Miami-OH) in the Regional Semifinal.

“I'm extremely excited that the program will continue on,” Talbot told William Douglas of NHL.com. “Don't get us wrong, there's still a lot of work to be done. But this was the first hurdle and we couldn't be more ecstatic from the support we've gotten.”

Despite a string of tough seasons — in regards to wins and losses — the program has deep roots as one of two DI programs in the Sun Belt, and the lone DI program east of the Mississippi River and south of the Sun Belt.

Questions remain about the program’s initial welcome for players to seek unquestioned transfers to other programs. Defenseman Tanner Hickey and forward Liam Izyk have both already been granted transfers to Arizona State and Boston College, respectively.

President Dawson relayed that the University is fully committed to the program for the upcoming season, but a five-year funding model and resolution to ongoing conference issues will need to be addressed to guarantee the program carries on past 2020-21.


Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.

WCHA RinkRap: Minnesota State-Bemidji State & Immediate Transfer Impacts

Lutz / Minnesota State

An entertaining November weekend of WCHA hockey, complete with scoring stars, goaltending duels and a four-star highlight-reel goal, was brought to a screeching halt on Monday when Minnesota State canceled its game Monday at Bemidji following reports of positive COVID-19 tests amongst its players.

Coast To Coast: NHL CBA Issues, ECHL Opt-Outs & Long Island University

Brampton Beast

Coast to Coast is FloHockey’s bi-monthly, cohesive news on North American hockey and live-streaming partnerships.

Game 2 Of Minnesota State-Bemidji State Series Postponed

Minnesota State Athletics

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Monday’s scheduled Minnesota State-Bemidji State non-conference game has been postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Minnesota State program. No make-up date for today’s contest has been announced.

1-On-1 With Don Lucia After Alaska Anchorage Shutters Hockey Program

Alaska Anchorage

Hockey has always been part of the culture in the 48th state, whether it be in the hit film Mystery Alaska, its countless pickup games on all their frozen ponds and streams, or 40 years’ worth of varsity hockey on two NCAA campuses. Last week that number has shrunk to one, as Alaska Anchorage announced it had dropped its hockey program, ending a 41-year reign as a varsity sport. 

Loh Of The Adirondack Thunder Prepares For The 'Upside-Down' Hockey Season

Alex Loh

A phone, a computer, a tireless work ethic and the ability to accept rejection are all Alex Loh, or any ECHL coach, needs to build a roster.

Spiros Anastas Prepares The Brampton Beast After Losses & During COVID-19

Anastas / Brampton Beast

Spiros Anastas is the head coach of a Canadian team.

The Mavericks & Beavers Are On A Superstar Goaltender Collision Course

McKay / Driscoll

Goaltending. 

It is by far the most important position in hockey. A star goalie carries significance comparable to an entire baseball pitching staff. The WCHA has two such aces: Minnesota State’s Dryden McKay and Zach Driscoll of Bemidji. McKay had the best statistics in college hockey last season, and he was a finalist for the Richter Award as well as a semifinalist for the Hobey Baker Award. Driscoll, a star in his own right, finished as a second-team All-WCHA selection behind McKay. McKay is this year’s projected WCHA player of the year; Driscoll finished fourth in the voting. 

Pretenders, Contenders & Rear-Enders: The WCHA Squads Of Michigan

Mitens, Lake Superior State

Northern Michigan, Lake Superior State, and Ferris State have all enjoyed degrees of success this past decade: Ferris with three trips to the NCAAs (including a competitive NCAA title game in 2012); Northern Michigan with a return to 20-win seasons under Grant Potulny; and Lake Superior waking its echoes of dominance with a Great Lakes Invitational title and a 23-win season in 2019. 

Scoring Threat Ross Olsson Plays 'In Your Face' For The Worcester Railers

Ross Olsson / Worcester Railers

Ross Olsson would seemingly be one of the last guys you’d expect to have a rather well-populated page on HockeyFights.com.

Atlantic Hockey Previews: AIC Loses Historic Group, Robert Morris Reloads

AIC Hockey

AIC has been crowned Atlantic Hockey regular season champions in each of the past two seasons and endured an incredible run into the second round of the NCAA tournament two years ago. This season, the Yellow Jackets look to replace players that have solidified their name in AIC history books. While there are large skates to fill, the Yellow Jackets return talent and depth from their 20-win season in 2019-20.