Arizona State gets $32 million donation to launch varsity men’s team

Arizona State on Tuesday announced plans to launch a Division I men’s team over the next three seasons.

The addition will give Division I men’s hockey 60 teams and a presence in the far southwest part of the country not seen since the 1980s.

A $32 million donation from an anonymous donor and Don Mullett, the father of a former Arizona State club hockey player, made the move possible, athletic director Ray Anderson said at a news conference on the Tempe, Ariz., campus on Tuesday.

Club team coach Greg Powers, who led the Sun Devils to a 2014 ACHA national championship, will be the first coach of the school’s varsity program. A full-time home for the program hasn’t been announced, but ESPN’s John Buccigross tweeted that there was a high likelihood the team would play at US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix.

Arizona State will be the first Division I men’s team in Arizona since Northern Arizona dropped its program in 1986. The Lumberjacks were a part of the Great West Hockey Conference with Alaska-Fairbanks, Alaska-Anchorage and U.S. International in the 1980s.

The school is a member of the Pac-12, one of the conferences with its own TV network. That league has been the target of expansion talks in college hockey for many years.

More to come.