Alabama-Huntsville Chargers men's ice hockey
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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
Coach: Lance West (2020-21)
Conf. Championships: CHA: 2007, 2010
NCAA Championships: 1996, 1998 (Division II)
Major Rivals: Bemidji

The Alabama–Huntsville Chargers ice hockey (commonly referred to as the UAH Chargers) are an NCAA Division I college ice hockey program that represents the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The UAH Chargers are one of only two NCAA Division I ice hockey programs in the Sun Belt, the other being Arizona State.

The Chargers play their home games at Propst Arena at the Von Braun Center. In 1987, Alabama governor George Wallace declared Huntsville to be the "Hockey Capital of the South."[1]

History[edit | edit source]

Founding and club championships[edit | edit source]

The UAH ice hockey program began as a club team in the late 1970s. Joe Ritch organized the inaugural Charger team in 1979, and served as head coach. UAH defeated Emory University 11-4 in its first game on October 26, 1979.[1] UAH dominated opposition in its first three seasons, winning three Southern Collegiate Hockey Association championships. The Chargers won the first of their three National Club Hockey Championships in 1982, defeating Southern Methodist 14-2 in the title game.[1]

For the 1982-83 season, Doug Ross became head coach as the Chargers moved to the Central States Collegiate Hockey League. UAH lost the conference championship game in overtime to Marquette, but the Chargers hosted the U.S. National Collegiate Club Hockey Championships, where they defeated Auburn (16-2), Arizona (7-4), and Penn State (5-4) en route to their second consecutive national championship.[1]

UAH hosted the club national championship tournament again in 1984, and the Chargers claimed a third straight title with wins over Miami University (3-1), Indiana (13-4), and Ohio (12-1). UAH hosted the tournament a third time in 1985, but its bid for a fourth straight championship fell short with a 6-2 loss to North Dakota State.[1]

Varsity and Division II championships[edit | edit source]

UAH elevated the hockey program to varsity status for the 1985-86 season as a member of the NAIA. The school became a full NCAA Division II member in 1986. With no NCAA sponsorship of hockey at the Division II level, UAH moved its program to Division I as an independent beginning with the 1987-88 season.[1] The Chargers went 63-81-8 in their five seasons in Division I. UAH finished with a winning season twice in that span: 1988-89 (15-10-1) and the last season, 1991-92 (18-10-1).[1]

UAH returned to Division II hockey in 1992 with the NCAA resuming sponsorship of a national championship. In 1994, the Chargers hosted its first Division II national championship series, but lost to Bemidji State in overtime of a mini-game tiebreaker.[1] After narrowly missing a chance at the title in 1995, the 1995-96 UAH team went undefeated (26-0-3) in the 1995-96 season and beat Bemidji State 7-1 and 3-0 at the Von Braun Center to claim its first NCAA championship in any sport.[1] The Chargers traveled to Bemidji State for the 1997 finals, losing 4-2 and 3-2. The 1997-98 UAH team claimed its second Division II championship in 1998, beating Bemidji again 6-2 and 5-2 in Huntsville to finish 24-3-3.[1]

Return to Division I and CHA era[edit | edit source]

UAH moved ice hockey back to Division I for the 1998-99 season as an independent, and the team became a charter member of College Hockey America starting with the 1999-2000 season. The Chargers won CHA regular season championships in 2001 and 2003.[1]

The 2006-07 UAH team earned the school's first CHA tournament title and NCAA Division I tournament bid. The Chargers spotted Robert Morris a 4-0 first-period lead, but rallied to beat the Colonials 5-4 in overtime. At the Midwest Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich., UAH took No. 1 seed Notre Dame to double overtime before losing 3-2 in Doug Ross's final game as head coach before retiring.[1]

Danton Cole became UAH's third head coach in 2007.[1]

In 2009, with the CHA's demise imminent following the announced departures of Niagara, Robert Morris, and Bemidji State, UAH applied for membership to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The CCHA denied UAH's application on August 11.[2]

UAH won the final CHA tournament in 2010, beating Niagara 3-2 in overtime for its second berth in the Division I tournament. The Chargers lost to top-ranked Miami 2-1 at the Midwest Regional in Fort Wayne, Ind.[1]

Independence and survival[edit | edit source]

Cole left UAH in 2010 to become the head coach of the U.S. National Development Team.[3] Assistant Chris Luongo was promoted to head coach as the Chargers became the lone independent program in Division I.[1] The program struggled as an independent as scheduling and recruiting hurt without a championship to play for. UAH was a combined 6-54-3 in its first two independent seasons from 2010-2012.

Early into the 2011-12 season, interim UAH President Malcolm Portera announced that the 2011–12 season would be the school's final season competing at the NCAA Division I level, citing financial reasons. The program would be "realigned" as a club team, and the coaches' jobs would be eliminated.[4] New UAH president Dr. Robert Altenkirch reversed the decision after he and school administrators met with local supporters on December 6, 2011.[5] The school set up a campaign to raise funds for the program and have it join a conference.[6]

Despite the questions about its hockey future, UAH was the host institution for the 2012 Frozen Four in Tampa, Florida.[7]

A week before the start of the 2012-13 season, UAH replaced Luongo and hired Kurt Kleinendorst to become the program's fifth head coach.[8]

On January 17, 2013, after months of discussions with conference officials and league member representatives, UAH formally applied to and was accepted to join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Chargers began conference play in the 2013-14 season.[9]

Kleinendorst resigned on May 29, 2013.[10] UAH named Mike Corbett as its sixth head hockey coach on July 8, 2013.[11]

Discontinuation and Reinstatement[edit | edit source]

In response to the financial difficulties faced by the university as a result of COVID-19, UAH president Darren Dawson discontinued the men's hockey program, as well as the men's and women's tennis programs.[12]

On May 25, 2020, the university announced the program would be reinstated if the community could raise $750,000 by Friday, May 29. Pledges from alumni reduced the amount needed from the general public to $500,000.[13][14] On May 29, fundraising efforts surpassed $500,000, and shortly afterwards the university confirmed the program would be restored for the 2020-2021 season.[15]

Season-by-season results[edit | edit source]

All-time coaching records[edit | edit source]

NAIA/NCAA[edit | edit source]

As of the completion of the 2019-20 season.

Tenure Coach Years Record Pct.
1985–2007 Doug Ross 22 376–255–42 .590
2007–2010 Danton Cole 3 23–59–12 .309
2010–2012 Chris Luongo 2 6–54–3 .119
2012–2013 Kurt Kleinendorst 1 3–21–1 .140
2013–2020 Mike Corbett 7 48–181–24 .237
Totals 5 coaches 35 seasons 456–572–80 .448

Club[edit | edit source]

Tenure Coach Years Record Pct.
1979–1982 Joe Ritch 3 79–4–1 .946
1982–1985 Doug Ross 3 75–17–3 .805
Totals 2 coaches 6 seasons 154–21–4 .872

Players[edit | edit source]

2019–20 team[edit | edit source]

As of October 14, 2020.[16]

# S/P/C Player Class Pos Height Weight DoB Hometown Previous team NHL rights
2 Flag of Tennessee Bahn, LucasLucas Bahn Sophomore D 5' 11" (1.8 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1999-09-11 Hendersonville, Tennessee West Kelowna (BCHL)
3 Flag of Illinois Lennon, DrewDrew Lennon Junior D 6' 2" (1.88 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1998-01-12 Bloomington, Illinois Lone Star (NAHL)
4 Flag of Tennessee Powell, JayJay Powell Junior D 6' 7" (2.01 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1997-10-01 Nashville, Tennessee Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL)
6 Flag of Ohio Adeniye, AyodeleAyodele Adeniye Freshman D 6' 5" (1.96 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1999-03-24 Columbus, Ohio Carleton Place (CCHL)
7 Flag of Minnesota Neudecker, BauerBauer Neudecker Junior F 5' 8" (1.73 m) 165 lb (75 kg) 1998-06-01 St. Louis Park, Minnesota Sioux City (USHL)
9 Flag of Illinois Green, QuinnQuinn Green Freshman F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1999-01-28 West Chicago, Illinois Topeka (NAHL)
11 Flag of Ontario Francis, PeytonPeyton Francis Sophomore F 6' 1" (1.85 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1999-04-12 Oakville, Ontario Carleton Place (CCHL)
12 Flag of Ontario Merkley, ConnorConnor Merkley Senior F 6' 1" (1.85 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1996-09-03 Portland, Ontario Carleton Place (CCHL)
13 Flag of Texas Allen, BenBen Allen Junior F 5' 9" (1.75 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1997-07-31 Allen, Texas Melfort (SJHL)
14 Flag of Ontario Alexander, JonahJonah Alexander Freshman F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1999-11-12 Toronto, Ontario St. Michael's (OJHL)
15 Flag of Florida Corrow, JoshuaJoshua Corrow Freshman D 6' 0" (1.83 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 2000-09-21 New Port Richey, Florida Whitecourt (AJHL)
16 Flag of Georgia (U.S. state) Wood, ConnorConnor Wood Senior F 5' 8" (1.73 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1996-08-09 Buford, Georgia Odessa (NAHL)
18 Flag of Australia Bronte, TyroneTyrone Bronte Freshman F 5' 10" (1.78 m) 165 lb (75 kg) 1999-05-07 Melbourne, Australia Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (NAHL)
19 Flag of Michigan Witherspoon, ConorConor Witherspoon Freshman F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1999-08-02 Metamora, Michigan Shreveport (NAHL)
20 Flag of Illinois Heneghan, MickMick Heneghan Freshman D 5' 11" (1.8 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1999-03-02 Niles, Illinois Northeast (NAHL)
21 Flag of Pennsylvania Vitucci, FrankFrank Vitucci Freshman F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1999-08-04 Yardley, Pennsylvania Wellington (OJHL)
22 Flag of Manitoba Finnson, DayneDayne Finnson Junior D 5' 10" (1.78 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1997-10-01 Arborg, Manitoba Victoria (BCHL)
23 Flag of Minnesota Michel, NickNick Michel Freshman F 5' 10" (1.78 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1999-03-16 Waconia, Minnesota Janesville (NAHL)
24 Flag of Alberta Thompson, TyrTyr Thompson Junior F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1998-09-26 Sherwood Park, Alberta Whitecourt (AJHL)
26 Flag of Ontario Stockdale, BennettBennett Stockdale Freshman F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1999-06-02 Ottawa, Ontario Johnstown (NAHL)
27 Flag of Massachusetts Scoville, BrianBrian Scoville Freshman D 6' 3" (1.91 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1999-03-28 Agawam, Massachusetts Langley (BCHL)
28 Flag of Michigan Finstrom, NoahNoah Finstrom Freshman D 5' 10" (1.78 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1999-09-17 New Baltimore, Michigan Jamestown (NAHL)
30 Flag of British Columbia Krall, DerekDerek Krall Freshman G 6' 0" (1.83 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1999-03-04 Crofton, British Columbia Powell River (BCHL)
33 Flag of Florida Danchenko, AdrianAdrian Danchenko Sophomore F 6' 2" (1.88 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1999-03-29 Palm City, Florida Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (NAHL)
35 Flag of Texas McBey, GeorgeGeorge McBey Sophomore G 6' 2" (1.88 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1998-04-20 Dallas, Texas Brookings (NAHL)
41 Flag of Colorado Fessenden, DavidDavid Fessenden Sophomore G 6' 6" (1.98 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1998-04-30 Parker, Colorado Northeast (NAHL)

Chargers in the NHL[edit | edit source]

  • Jared Ross (2001–05) — Center who played for the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League in the 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons. Ross, the son of longtime UAH coach Doug Ross, is the first player born and trained in the state of Alabama to play in the NHL.[17]
  • Cam Talbot (2007–10) — Goaltender for the Calgary Flames. Talbot spent two seasons as the backup goaltender for the New York Rangers from 2013-15 before being traded to Edmonton during the 2015 offseason. Talbot holds the Oilers' franchise regular season record for wins by a goaltender with 42 in the 2016-17 season. He was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on February 15, 2019 for goaltender Anthony Stolarz. On July 1, 2019, he signed a 1 year contract with the Calgary Flames.

Varsity records[edit | edit source]

Since the 1985-86 season through the 2015-16 season.[18]

Career[edit | edit source]

  • Most goals: 96 by Mario Mazzuca (1992–96)
  • Most assists: 118 by Tony Guzzo (1993–97)
  • Most points: 179 by Tony Guzzo (1993–97)
  • Most penalty minutes: 467 by Shane Stewart (1996–2000)
  • Most goaltending wins: 66 by Derek Puppa (1992–96)
  • Lowest goals against average: 2.36 by Cedrick Billequey (1995–98)
  • Highest save percentage: .918 by Scott Munroe (2002–06)
  • Most shutouts: 8 by Mark Byrne (1999–2003)

Season[edit | edit source]

Individual

  • Most goals: 35 by Mario Mazzuca (1995–96)
  • Most assists: 42 by Shane Bowler (1994–95)
  • Most points: 62 by Graham Fair (1993–94)
  • Most penalty minutes: 186 by Shane Stewart (1998–99)
  • Most goaltending wins: 23 by Derek Puppa (1995–96)
  • Lowest goals against average: 1.79 by Cedrick Billequey (1997–98)
  • Highest save percentage: .932 by Derek Puppa (1995–96)
  • Most shutouts: 6 by Mark Byrne (2000–01)

Team

  • Most wins: 26 (1995–96)
  • Longest winning streak: 20 (February 1995–January 1996)
  • Longest undefeated streak: 34 (February 1995–March 1996)
  • Most goals: 201 (1997–98)
  • Lowest goals against average: 1.74 (1995–96)
  • Highest save percentage: .933 (1995–96)
  • Most shutouts: 7 (2000–01)

Game[edit | edit source]

Individual

  • Most goals: 5 by Mike O’Connor against Queens on February 27, 1988; Logan Lampert against Michigan-Dearborn on October 23, 1992; Mario Mazzuca against Nichols on February 11, 1995
  • Most assists: 6 by Jim Spanier against Upsala on February 27, 1987; Stuart Vitue against Michigan-Dearborn on Oct. 23, 1992; Tony Guzzo against New England on December 30, 1996
  • Most points: 7 on five occasions
  • Most penalty minutes: 31 by Shane Stewart against Bemidji State on February 5, 2000
  • Most saves: 76 by Carmine Guerriero against Michigan Tech on March 13, 2015
  • Most saves in a shutout: 39 by Derek Puppa against Minnesota State on February 17, 1995; Scott Munroe against Robert Morris on February 26, 2005

Team

  • Most goals: 23 against Sacred Heart on November 8, 1997
  • Most shots on goal: 91 against Villanova on November 22, 1986
  • Fewest shots on goal allowed: 8 against Stonehill on January 15, 1994, and against Southern New Hampshire on November 18, 1995

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 UAH Sports Information. Hockey History.
  2. McLaughlin, Bud. "UAH denied admission to Central Collegiate Hockey Association", August 11, 2009. 
  3. Olsen, Becky. Cole steps in to lead NTDP’s U-17 team. USAHockey.com.[dead link]
  4. Chargers athletic program to see changes following budget analysis. University of Alabama-Huntsville (October 24, 2011).
  5. Gattis, Paul. "UAH announces plan to bring back Division I hockey program", December 6, 2011. 
  6. Turner, John. "Charging on: UAH launches official fundraising campaign for hockey program", 2011-12-21. 
  7. Pupello, Peter (April 4, 2012). Tampa Bay’s role as Frozen Four host proved years in the making. Tampa Bay Lightning.
  8. McCarter, Mark. "Ex-NHL coach Kurt Kleinendorst named new hockey coach at UAH", 2012-09-25. 
  9. WCHA Grants Full-Time Membership to University of Alabama in Huntsville. Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
  10. UAH Sports Information. Kleinendorst Steps Down as Head Hockey Coach.
  11. UAH Tabs Mike Corbett to Lead Charger Hockey. UAHChargers.com. UAH Sports Information.
  12. COVID-19 Forcing UAH to Take Steps for More Budget Reductions. NCAA.
  13. Championship UAH Hockey Players Rally to Save Program.
  14. UAH spells out path to bring back canceled hockey, tennis programs.
  15. UAH announces hockey will return after private funds raised to support program.
  16. 2019–20 Men's Ice Hockey Roster. The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
  17. Ross goes from deep south to NHL. The American Hockey League (October 13, 2008). [dead link]
  18. UAH Sports Information. Hockey History & Records. 

External links[edit | edit source]


Division I Independent

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

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