It's a historic day for college hockey, as Arizona State announced their plans to move their club hockey program to Division I. They will become the first NCAA Division I team in Arizona since Northern Arizona University dropped their hockey program in 1985.
Here is the school's press release on the announcement.
Here are the important details to note from today's press conference:
-The school received a $32 million donation from a group of private donors. Leading the group of donors was Don Mullett and his son Chris, a former ASU hockey player, along with other donors that chose to remain anonymous.
Additional women's varsity program in 2016, still to be determined. Lacrosse, rowing, crew under consideration.
-Current club hockey coach Greg Powers will remain as head coach of the program when they start in Division I next season.
-AD Ray Anderson said he hoped that Arizona State will "tip the dominoes" on other teams along the west coast starting hockey programs.
-The school is looking at "all viable options" for a new arena. Head coach Powers says their goal is to be on campus as soon as possible.
Among the rumored possibilities suggest are playing at Phoenix's US Airways Arena, home of the NBA's Suns and WNBA's Mercury(I wish I could say I had to look that up). Other options include renovating Oceanside Arena, current home of the Sun Devils to something more suitable for a Division I, or renovating the school's basketball arena, Wells Fargo Arena for hockey.
-Coach Powers confirmed plans to play a mixed schedule of D-1/ACHA opponents next season. An independent full D-1 schedule the following year, and hopefully join a conference after that.
Other details that have emerged in the hours since this move became public:
-The schools expect an annual cost of $2.5 million to operate the program. The private donations will fund the program for the first ten years of the program, with the school responsible for expenses after that.
-Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reports that ASU has been in contact with the NCHC about potentially joining as a member:
Arizona State going D-I in men's hockey, has been in contact with NCHC http://t.co/EV0xIIZkSs— Brad E. Schlossman (@SchlossmanGF) November 18, 2014
-Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press reports that the WCHA is interested in adding Arizona State and is in talks with the school:
The WCHA is "very interested" Arizona State, commissioner Bill Robertson says and has started discussions with their program.— Shane Frederick (@puckato) November 18, 2014