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Alabama-Huntsville Chargers
Alabama-Huntsville Chargers
Institution: University of Alabama in Huntsville
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
School founded: 1969
Enrollment: 5,500
President: David Williams
Athletic Director: Jim Harris
Colors: Blue and White
Home Arena: Von Braun Center
Capacity: 6,602
Dimensions: 200'x85'
Men's Team
Conference: Western Collegiate Hockey Association
Conf. Championships: CHA: 2007, 2010
NCAA Championships: 1996, 1998 (Division II)
Major Rivals: Bemidji

The Alabama-Huntsville Chargers are a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in Men's Division I having joined the conference for the 2013-14 WCHA Season after being a Division I Independent for several seasons following the folding on the Men's version of College Hockey America after the 2009-2010 season, a league of which they had been a member since its' founding for the 1999-2000 season.

The program was founded as a club team in 1979.  After much success at the club level the program was elevated to a varsity sport for 1985-86 season in the NAIA.  The school joined the NCAA Division II ranks in 1986.  With the NCAA no longer sponsoring hockey at the Division II level the program joined Division I as an Independent.  This lasted until Division II being restored in 1992.  They rejoined Division II and two national titles in 1996 and 1998.  The program was elevated back to Division I in 1998 again as an Independent. College Hockey America was formed for the 1999-2000 season and the Chargers were a charter member.  The league lasted until the 2009-10 season and the school won the final CHA tournament. They had applied for admission to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association prior to this season but were denied membership.  The program went back to the Independent route starting with the 2010-11 season.  The interim President of the university Malcolm Portera announced that the program was going to be pulled from the varsity level and moved back to the club sport status at the university.[1]  However, the new president, Dr. Robert Altenkirch reversed this decision after holding several meetings with administration and supporters of the program.  The school began a campaign to raise funds for the program with a goal of getting the school into a conference.  Tampa, Florida hosted the 2012 Frozen Four and UAH was chosen as the host institution.  The school was notified on January 17, 2013 that the school was accepted as a member of the WCHA beginning with the 2013-14 season.[2]

Ending of Program?Edit

On May 22, 2020 the university announced that is was dropping the men's varsity program effective immediately. The university cited budget constraints related to the COVID-19 crisis. The men's and women's tennis programs were also dropped. The breaking up of WCHA with seven of the ten teams leaving the conference leaving only UAH and two Alaska based schools may have also been a factor in the decision. The university was the first men's D-I program discontinued since Wayne State ended their program in 2008. [3] The program was issued a reprieve on May 26th when a gofundme.com campaign was started to try to raise $750,000 from sponsors and alumni. If the money is raised the program will be back on the ice for the 2020-21 season.[4]


Over $500,000 was raised via the go fund me page by May 29th. Two long time supporters of the program Taso Sofikitis and Sheldon Wolitski each donated $125,000 above and beyond the fundraiser total to save the program for 2020-21.  The university has committed to putting the team into a conference for 2021-22 and beyond that will help stabilize the program and is also working with supporters on a financial plan to keep the program going for at least five additional years. The campaign was the largest fund raising campaign in the history of UAH.[5]

ReferencesEdit

External links Edit


Division I Independent

Men: Alabama-Huntsville Chargers | Penn State Nittany Lions
Women: Sacred Heart Pioneers

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