Alabama-Huntsville interim president Malcolm Portera sent out a release today announcing that this will be the final year of Division I hockey for the Alabama-Huntsville program. It's a disappointing end, but ultimately one that seemed inevitable once college hockey failed to help find a conference affiliation for the Chargers. I mean, if a school like North Dakota can't possibly make things work having to play in the same conference as Michigan Tech, what hope was there for a small school trying to make it as an independent?
There was a valiant effort from the UAH hockey community to raise the funds needed to sustain the program, but even if they had raised the money for another couple of years, that well was likely to run dry eventually, while the program seemed doomed to keep losing money. The school will honor the scholarships of players that want to stick around, and those that can find spots on other teams will be allowed to transfer without having to sit out a year.
This casts a dark shadow over this year's Frozen Four in Tampa, hosted by the Chargers. Any notion of hosting the Frozen Fours in far-off locales as a means of selling the sport for future expansion is now gone, after the only southern college hockey program was unceremoniously told 'you're not welcome here'.