State of Tennessee plans to add Division I hockey
As the growth of college hockey continues, you never know where the next Division I team might appear. In recent years, programs have sprung up at Arizona State University and Long Island University, with new additions coming at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and Lindenwood University in Missouri and conversations also took place at the University of Illinois and the US Naval Academy. . However, the last school to enter the scene is still a surprise.
According to Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News, Tennessee State University “is considering a feasibility study to bring hockey to campus.” A historically black university, HBCU for short, located south of the Mason-Dixon Line, at first it may seem like the state of Tennessee would not be suitable for NCAA hockey. However, the state of Tennessee is located within the city limits of Nashville, and the home of the Predators has become a real hockey town in recent years. With the growing geography and diversity of the game in the United States, the state of Tennessee may be perfectly situated to take advantage of the passionate hockey culture that has developed in Nashville to recruit non-traditional but talented prospects.
A similar logic led Lindenwood to move to Division I. ACHA’s long-standing powerhouse is located in St. Louis, which has itself grown into a major hockey town in recent decades and has started producing incredible local talent, many of whom were the children of former St. Louis Blues. The state of Tennessee can see the Nashville grassroots hockey scene in full swing and are looking to get into the mix sooner rather than later, perhaps even creating a similar bond with the Predators. Lindenwood will also serve as a natural rival, both geographically and experientially, while Alabama-Huntsville, the South’s premier hockey school, will be its closest competitor. Kennedy notes that Miami-Ohio will also be a similar distance from the state of Tennessee to Lindenwood.
While the Tigers are still a long way from confirming the formation of a Division I hockey program – Illinois has proven how long these “studies” can take – the prospect of college hockey continues to expand into new corners of the United States and further expand the reach. of the game is exciting. So is the potential impact it could have on the diversity of the game. There’s a lot to like about the State of Tennessee’s addition to the NCAA hockey ranks on the road.