On Monday, it was announced that Oakland University will join the University of Illinois to become the second school to conduct an NHL-funded feasibility study regarding the possibility of adding Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey programs.
Similar to Illinois’ announcement, Oakland’s announcing of this study is the first tiny step in a marathon-long journey towards starting their own hockey program. The biggest challenges, specifically finding money for operating costs of the program, and finding a suitable arena to play in, both of which will likely cost in the tens of millions of dollars, still remain.
The announcement more serves as an opportunity to publicly declare the school’s interest and enthusiasm in trying to start a program, which might hopefully help drum up the necessary donations to make it happen.
Oakland would become the eighth men’s Division I program in the state of Michigan, and should they add a women’s hockey program, would become the only women’s program in the state, after Wayne State dropped their women’s program in 2011.