Detroit-area Oakland University to add D-I men’s, women’s hockey?

Oakland University has begun the process of exploring adding Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs, according to a  Monday report in the Detroit News.

OU is located in the northern Detroit suburb of Rochester.

An announcement was set for Monday night at Little Caesars Arena, featuring Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, Oakland athletic director Jeff Konya, and College Hockey Inc. executive director Mike Snee.

“I think it makes a lot of sense on a number of different levels,” Konya said in the report. “At the same time, it has to make sense for the university.

“All those questions have to line up in a positive way. And hopefully, it will make sense to move forward with this process.”

In late August, the NHL visited Oakland’s campus to talk with officials, in administration and athletics, and conduct and pay for a feasibility study to determine if Oakland should move forward.

The University of Illinois was the first athletic program to benefit from the NHL’s support, with the Chicago Blackhawks also playing a role there. That feasibility study was conducted in June.

Oakland has seven men’s programs and 10 women’s programs. It last added programs 10 years ago, the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams, and boasts two ACHA men’s hockey programs.

The state of Michigan has seven Division I men’s programs – Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan and Western Michigan. The programs are spread out over three conferences (Big Ten, NCHC, WCHA).

No D-I women’s program has been in the state since Wayne State’s program was cut in 2011 after 12 seasons. The WSU men’s team ran from 1999 to 2008. Wayne State is located in Detroit, but never had an on-campus rink built.

Other dignitaries expected to help as Oakland continues the pursuit include Michigan State alum and Red Wings director of player development Shawn Horcoff and Kim Durka, executive vice president of the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association.