WCHA adds Alabama-Huntsville to fold for next season

UAH logo

This is great news for those who have been worried about Alabama-Huntsville’s future and for WCHA fans. UAH should be a competitive program soon.

From the WCHA …

MADISON, Wis. – The Western Collegiate Hockey Association men’s membership voted today (January 17) to admit the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) as a full-time men’s conference member. The vote of approval was taken after UAH submitted an application for membership and made a formal presentation to a WCHA group of member-team Presidents and Athletic Directors at a meeting held in conjunction with the NCAA Convention in Dallas, Tex.
The addition of University of Alabama in Huntsville into college hockey’s most historic and successful conference will bring future men’s league membership to 10 teams. Their membership will be effective as soon as 2013-14.
WCHA men’s membership in 2013-14 currently consists of University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Bemidji State University, Bowling Green State University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University, Minnesota State University, Mankato and Northern Michigan University.
In issuing a joint statement on behalf of the Association, Dr. Richard Davenport, President of Minnesota State University, Mankato and Chair of the WCHA President’s Group, and Bruce McLeod, Commissioner of the WCHA, said “The WCHA is delighted to have reached in principle an agreement to officially welcome University of Alabama in Huntsville into the Association family as a full-time men’s member. This is a significant day for the Chargers, the community of Huntsville, the conference itself, and college hockey in general. Growing the game and assisting developing programs however possible has always been a charge of the WCHA and this is another positive evolution in our history.
“Each of our member institutions are 100% committed to keeping the WCHA among the premier conferences in all of collegiate athletics and our respective ice hockey programs both strong and vibrant. The University of Alabama in Huntsville is a dynamic, top-quality institution with an excellent academic and athletic reputation and without question the Chargers are going to be a great fit and a successful, contributing member. 
“Just as the entire UAH campus and the Huntsville community are exhilarated to now have a welcoming home for their men’s hockey program, the WCHA is also extremely proud and gratified to be providing that home.”
Said University of Alabama in Huntsville President Robert Altenkirch, “We’re pleased that our ice hockey team is going to have the opportunity to compete and grow in a NCAA Division 1 conference. We believe that our affiliation with the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will be a tremendous boost to our recruiting, scheduling and our ability to be competitive on the ice.
“We want to thank the WCHA and its member institutions for their confidence in allowing us to be a part of their conference. Their affirmative vote will invigorate our ability to maintain our great hockey tradition.”
UAH Director of Athletics Dr. E.J. Brophy said, “All athletic programs experience special defining moments, and our hockey program’s acceptance today into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association is certainly one of those moments. The WCHA is a preeminent hockey conference in America, and I know that our student-athletes, coaches, fans, friends, alums and the people of Huntsville are ecstatic and proud of this giant step for our ice hockey program.
“The last time we were in a conference, we won the conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament, which will be our immediate and ambitious goal when we begin play in the WCHA. It is a banner day for the Chargers.”
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About paisleyhockey
I am a freelance writer specializing in sports with 20-plus years of experience.

2 Responses to WCHA adds Alabama-Huntsville to fold for next season

  1. Pete Moulton says:

    This is terrific news, both for the Charger program, and for D-1 hockey at large. No one wants to see a program shut down, least of all UAH’s program. Not only does UAH have a proud hockey tradition, they’re the only D-1 team that isn’t in an area that’s heavily invested in winter sports, and that’s a good thing, IMO. We need more programs in nontraditional areas to build interest.

    • Pete:
      I agree. The program has tradition and also provides a beachhead into a nontraditional area. With the NHL expansion into warm-weather states, you are seeing more and more college talent developing outside the Midwest and northeastern United States. It would be great if these players could someday play D1 closer to home if that is what they want. This news made my Thursday.
      Joe

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