With the recent news of Tennessee State University and Augustana University (S.D.) planning to add hockey in the coming years, Sports Illustrated explored another 10 schools that should add Division I hockey. Among others, the list included South Florida, North Carolina State, UCLA, and Rutgers. Adding hockey is an extremely expensive undertaking for any school, regardless of how well-established a school’s athletics program is (and Title IX compliance notwithstanding), but Sports Illustrated got us thinking and we developed a list of our own ten schools that make much more sense.
South Dakota State – They could leverage T. Denny Sanford’s big bucks for hockey facilities. Already a hotbed for minor league soccer why not add college hockey to the mix?
St. Louis University – St. Louis has become a big hockey town and the Billikens have a massive endowment. St. Louis has a strong hockey culture with the Blues and their recent Stanley Cup championship and plenty of developmental leagues for youth players as well.
University of Colorado – We would love to see the Buffs add hockey and there is no doubt they would draw a crowd. Adding CU to the mix with Air Force, Colorado College, and Denver, the Front Range could host a thrilling holiday hockey tournament and the profile of the sport would skyrocket, helping all programs in the state.
Iowa State – Winters are cold and long in the midwest but a state that loves junior hockey teams would welcome a college team to follow in Ames.
Drake – Drake is another school in the state of Iowa that could make some noise in hockey. Des Moines is growing quickly and would no doubt embrace college hockey, much like Omaha.
Nebraska – The Cornhuskers would make a big splash in Lincoln with hockey. They have plenty of money to enter the sport and UNO is down the road. But we’ll leave the real analysis here to our friends, The Red Army.
Creighton – Here is a private school in the heart of Omaha that has the resources to field a team. Should the Bluejays, Cornhuskers, and the Mavericks all field hockey programs, you would have Nebraskans picking sides in a hurry.
Missouri State University – With long, cold winters in Springfield, a city of 167,000 and 23,000 students, MSU would be an ideal candidate to add hockey to take fan’s minds off grey Missouri winters.
University of Utah – The Utes just added lacrosse, why not bring college hockey to Salt Lake City? Packed in an area with tons of winter sports, hockey is a logical addition to their sports menu.
University of Montana – The Grizzlies are the flagship university of Montana but they do not have an inferiority complex like our UMass-Amherst friends back east. Less than 200 miles from the Canadian border, they can find plenty of skaters to the north in Western Canada. In January, it’s a balmy 34 in the daytime and 19 degrees at night, peak hockey weather.