Alabama-Huntsville now looking at keeping D-I program

After a meeting Tuesday night with a grass roots effort group to save the hockey program at Alabama-Huntsville, the school released a statement seemingly changing its stance on the decision to end the D-I program it announced earlier this season.

UAH spokesman Ray Garner told the Huntsville Times that the school is committing to nothing beyond the statement below.

Members of The University of Alabama in Huntsville administration met this evening with hockey supporters, following discussions with Chancellor Malcolm Portera, and came to a consensus to work closely together to pursue institutional and community support to continue UAH hockey at the Division I level.

Several scenarios were discussed to ensure recurring support is in place, and the two groups will continue to meet in the coming days to finalize a workable plan.


  1. People wonder why southern hockey is the worst of all places to play hockey its because of programs like UAH. They have no business playing at the D1 level, simple as that! I would bet if UAH played the likes of D3 programs Norwich, Oswego, or St. Norberts they would still get killed as they are now. Not a strong program at all and UAH just goes to show that they care more about the last names they bring in, rather than the talent!

    • Holes:

      I think UAH is a product of it’s environment. When the CHA disbanded and forced UAHuntsville to go indy it  killed any chance they had of getting recruits.

      If they could latch onto the AHA or the possible  new CCHA then the school would be able to to recruit properly and  addapt to the new conference.

      I think UAH deserves a pass on the past two season as far as results go because no real recruit wants to play for an independent school.

      I don’t think the South is an ideal place for hockey; but UAH is low risk high reward. worst case scenario they suck. but with that in mind how many teams in the Great Lakes region or New England/New York struggle each year.

      Best case scenario they set the base for a southern expansion.

      Just at thought at least

      • What new CCHA? 

        Good team or not, the loss of any program is bad for college hockey.  We are already the smallest and least publicized sport of the major sports in college.  The last thing we need is for teams to fold in regions of the country where we could use a fan base.  I hope the Chargers can find a way to make this work.

        Go NCAA Hockey!!

    • Yeah, that’s why DIII schools like that lining up to get these “no business playing at the DI level” players onto their rosters. 

    • I hate to think that you wouldn’t give us an honest chance to show you that our boys hit hard and play harder, they have competed successfully for more than a few years in DI and we will support our Chargers till the end!! It absolutely infuriates me that people who don’t know our players, our fans and our community voice an opinion so generalized.  I am proud to be a Charger, proud to support our boys WIN, LOSE, or DRAW. I am at every home hockey and listen to every away game. Clarke Saunders could compete with any other goalie, the freshmen that we have this year are hard hitters and go getters, we have the potential on our team right now to compete at DI for as long as we can.   I would also like to say that I am proud of Brice for the goals he made in Nashville.  If everyone would come out and see what we see every game then everyone would understand why we are fighting so hard. Our boys play with HEART and I am proud to know them, cheer for them, and support them.  Take the time to see the Chargers play, they will capture your heart…CHARGE ON!!!!!  

  2. No Conference/No Chance…even If they were lights out good it would be hard to get games after the Holidays when all the Conferences play head to head each year…2-bad but Thats Hockey 101 these days and it will get MEANER come 2013-14.

  3. For those who say Hockey does not belong in the south…Dallas Stars, Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Nashville and Phoenix for crying out loud.  There is a fan base for Pro hockey so why not college?  IMO, Huntsville folding is bad news.  The NCAA should be able to get them into a conference.  If the NCAA can spend tons of time and money getting rid of the Fighting Sioux nickname then they can surely find a way to get UAH into conference play.  -Happy Golden Gopher Fan!!

    • The NHL is dying to get Phoenix moved, Seattle(not in the south)  is where they really want a team. They just moved Atlanta this year as well

      I read an article a little while ago about the addendance in the NHL and there were a handful of college hockey teams (not in the south) that have a higher average attendance than the lowest 4 or 5 NHL teams (all in the south). 

      Hockey in the south its a great idea, usually doesn’t work. 

      • Phoenix probably cannot keep hard ice indoors (obviously as well as outdoors).  I have played here in MN in the summer and the ice can be soft then.  Can’t imagine what it would be like in Phoenix.  The other issue with Phoenix is it is a retirement destination as well as a “I am getting the hell out of the cold” college destination.  These kids don’t want to be around ice.  :)  But Seattle?  Two team 90 miles from each other?  Not sure that will work either.

        • I’m not saying it will work, but I was listening to an interview with Lou Nanne and he said the league really wants to get there.  They need somebody to build a facility there so it would be a large project to get a team there. 

          • Seattle does make more sense than Phoenix.  No doubt about that.  So why does the NHL want them out of Phoenix?  Low fan base?  Kind of a bummer for the true fans but business is business.  Seattle Coyotes…here we come.

  4. Glad to see our Chargers get a reprieve.  I would think that exposure for hockey in the south would only be good for the collegiate sport as a whole.  Keep in mind that many of the schools in the south that have college hockey at the club level look to UAH as the flagship institution for southern hockey.  And for those that say UAH can’t compete… UAH won two Division II national championships when that level was in existence.   The Chargers also won a couple of D1 conference championships with the CHA and tournament championships.  They came a goal short of beating the number one seed in their region on both trips to the NCAA tournament.  Notre Dame had to go through a few OTs to dispatch UAH.  What matters is it looks like UAH will live another day so let’s find the Chargers a home! 

    • I agree.  Let’s find them somewhere to live.  I am a Gopher fan at heart but love college hockey overall.  I don’t want to see any of our teams go under.

  5. Does that mean the Sioux wont be getting Saunders next year?  Bummer!  I read an article earlier this week in the Grand Forks Herald that he would be going there next year should the program collapse…  My guess though is that he would honor his commitment to the Chargers, as he should.  Besides, with Dell being a senior next year and a highly recruited freshman coming in (Zane Gothberg). I wasnt really sure how he would fit the picture.  He seems like a stud down south though with the ability to steal games ;)

    • The players have been released, so his “commitment” to UAH is no longer in place really.  I would suspect that under the circumstances any player would be allowed to leave, and no one would blame Saunders for picking UND over UAH.

  6. Minnesota Gopher fan here really pulling for the Huntsville. If they can find a conference they could definitely become a legitimate team. 

      • I Accidentally hit like on your comment Scott… If they find a conference it increases their likelihood of stability and attracting better recruits. Better players can equal better team. Good recruits didn’t want to play in the CHA and they don’t want to play for an Independent that’s constantly on the verge of shutting down. I never said they would win a NCAA Championship. Merrimack and Colgate are doing well and they don’t have an outstanding hockey history. Once upon a time Mankato and Michigan Tech were good also. Just because a team is bad doesn’t mean they can’t turn things around. Make sense?

        • Your going witht he anything can happen argument… lol true… Iowa might start 3 new programs next year and with a good confrence they could be good. 

          • Ha. Yeah.. Theoretically Iowa could start a Division 1 Program and eventually become successful. But Iowa doesn’t have a hockey program. Alabama Huntsville does and they need a conference so they can begin to become competitive. Do you admit defeat?

          • NEVER!!! Rensselaer needs a conference so they can become competitive too, lol My opinion is they will never be good, they might have a season here or there but it doesn’t matter what conference they are in.

          • Full disclosure: I’m a Rensselaer fan

            This comment completely discredits you from showing that you understand how sports work, or that you’re even a sports fan at all.

          • I’m dying to hear the logic beind your opinion, but I don’t know if google translate works for moron to english…

          • I’m trying to interpret the logic behind your statement, which is essentially “if a team is no good right now, it doesn’t matter what league they’re in or what they do, they’ll be doormats forever; therefore the same teams should always unquestionably do well”. Sports fans appreciate the sport for what it is, and while they may root for their own team, they don’t unjustifiably rip on others. I personally get disgusted with UND for a lot of reasons, but I am not bringing up the fact that they are not playing well for the first half of the season to say “WELL THEY DONT BELONG IN THE WCHA LOL”. College sports are transient by their very nature; if someone wants to root for a team that always does well, they should go be a Yankees fan.

            Google translate from moron to English, cute.

      • Scott,
        I did a longer comment above but they have taken two teams to the limit in the NCAA tourney, won the DII championship against Bemidji State, won the CHA and beaten some ranked teams in their history (Notre Dame when they were number 5 a couple of years ago).  UAH is a good school and Huntsville isn’t a bad place to be either.

      • Yeah, why should we bother having other teams other than the best ones? It would totally be exciting to watch 3 or 4 WCHA teams play for 6 months to represent all of NCAA college hockey! As a matter of fact, why don’t we just give the title to the team everyone thinks is the best one before the season even starts? After all, we know they’re going to win anyway, because hockey is totally NOT an unpredictable sport, especially at the college level where players are only in it for the short term.

        • your missing the point and just being defensive because of me ripping on your team.  Goldy said “could definitely become a legitimate team” They aren’t a good team and nothing really points to greatness for them… actually things are pointing in the opposite direction… they almost lost their D1 status…things aren’t good there.  They have nothing about them that makes it look like they could become a great team anymore than any other team in the country.   

          • I didn’t miss the point, I’m extending your logic across the board, and by that logic only three or four programs should ever survive because they’re “consistently good”. I also have no qualms with anyone ripping on my team, because they are sucking right now, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have potential since we got in some ridiculously powerful recruits that haven’t found their groove yet; god forbid that teams need to adjust or find systems that work for them. Anyway, my own team is outside of the scope of this discussion. I say the more teams, the merrier, especially with a Division I sport that only has on the order of 50 active teams regularly. Do you ever think anyone would have predicted Merrimack to have the record they currently do 5 years ago?

          • No, nobody would have predicted it. But its also irrevelant to this conversation. I don’t think the more the merrier, hockey isn’t going to be as big as some other sports and no matter what sport your talking about, they all have celings to their fan bases.  When the talent gets spread out too thin it takes away from the product. 

          • Obviously hockey will never be as big as NCAA basketball or football. But dissolving programs isn’t the way to grow the sport in America. There’s an article on the home page right now related to Californian players in Division 1 Hockey which is not a state known for producing great hockey players. More programs will create more youth players in non traditional areas. I’m sure there are many European and Canadian players who would like to play here also.

          • I never said disolving programs is a way to grow the sport in america.  Look at how hard people tried to make soccer a big thing here…MLS blows… its not getting better or bigger.  I’m not even saying I want UAH to go away, but they only get players because they are local kids, or aren’t good enough to go somewhere else.  There are always exceptions to everything so don’t come back with a story about some recruit from russia who only wants to play at UAH to prove me wrong…

          • Haha.. Okay Scott.. The MLS is actually expanding to more teams next year and the talent of that league has increased drastically but that’s a whole different topic. I never told a story about how some Russian kid wants to fulfill his life long dream of coming to America to play hockey in Alabama. I was merely pointing out the fact that the talent pool wouldn’t be diluted if we increased the teams in NCAA Division 1. There’s plenty of players to go around for Huntsville. 

          • Are you serious? Soccer sucks.. I mean I have played it and Green Street Hooligans is a great movie (makes Frodo sort of respectable), and they are great athleates… but soccer still sucks. But someone must be watching it so I guess good for them.  There might be enough in the talent pool and maybe this shouldn’t be directed at UAH, but I don’t agree with getting bigger just for the sake of getting bigger.

          • This is so not true.  The more teams, the bigger the fan base, the more young ones grow up wanting to play, the more prospects to choose from…  What are you thinking?  Bigger is better.  More teams and fans=more national coverage, more exposure, more funding, more everything.  Sour grapes about your UND talent pool this year?  Maybe the next great UND player would come out of Alabama…  Let’s hope that after reading your post, they make the right choice, stay in Huntsville instead, and whoop the Goons formally known as the Sue in the NCAA tourney!

          • Maybe an economics lesson is appropriate here, let the market dictate how many teams are appropriate.  Your trying to create false demand to stimulate supply… it just doesn’t work. 

            And the Sioux are sitting just fine right now, 4th in our league, a tough UNO team in town this weekend to start a 8 game home theat finishes off with our chance to get revenge on the Gophers.  We are doing just fine…

  7. While I would never consider myself a fan of UAH as I have no ties to the school, I am glad to hear this news.  I hope they can find a way to keep the program going, and I hope they can find a home somewhere in the new landscape of college hockey.

  8. Regardless of if they are going to be competitive or not, why would you want to lower the already extremely low number of division 1 college hockey programs. Worst case scenario for them if they were admitted into a conference would be that they would become a doormat for the rest of the teams.  But theres nothing wrong with a doormat and there usually is one in every conference every year.  Hockey East would love a doormat seeing how their 3 teams that alternate at that spot are all having winning seasons so far. Every winner needs a loser


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