|Alabama-Huntsville Chargers men's ice hockey|
|Institution:||University of Alabama in Huntsville|
|Athletic Director:||Jim Harris|
|Colors:||Blue and White|
|Home Arena:||Von Braun Center|
|Conference:||Western Collegiate Hockey Association|
|Coach:||Lance West (2020-21)|
|Conf. Championships:||CHA: 2007, 2010|
|NCAA Championships:||1996, 1998 (Division II)|
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.
Founding and club championships
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. 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.
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.
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.
Varsity and Division II championships
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. 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).
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. 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. 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.
Return to Division I and CHA era
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.
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.
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.
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.
Independence and survival
Cole left UAH in 2010 to become the head coach of the U.S. National Development Team. Assistant Chris Luongo was promoted to head coach as the Chargers became the lone independent program in Division I. 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. New UAH president Dr. Robert Altenkirch reversed the decision after he and school administrators met with local supporters on December 6, 2011. The school set up a campaign to raise funds for the program and have it join a conference.
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.
Discontinuation and Reinstatement
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.
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. On May 29, fundraising efforts surpassed $500,000, and shortly afterwards the university confirmed the program would be restored for the 2020-2021 season.
The university applied to join the revived Central Collegiate Hockey Association and also applied to join Atlantic Hockey Association for the 2021-22 season. The CCHA rejected the application in early May. At that time AHA had not acted on the application. On May 5th the university suspended the ice hockey program immediately essentially cancelling the program's 2021-22 season.
The AHA which has an odd number (11) of teams was rumored to be holding a spot for the long rumored United States Naval Academy (Navy) team, the conference already has the other two United States Military academies (Air Force and Army) among its membership so it would be a natural fit for that reason alone and would be less of an outlier than UAH. Two teams would likely be need to apply to have a chance for the conference to accept any other new members with the LIU Sharks seeming to be the most logical choice to pair with UAH. Another potential option would include creating a new conference with five members for the time being with Arizona State, LIU, the two Alaska schools and UAH. Rumored Lindenwood (likely for 2022-23) and Tennessee State (in the fact finding stage) teams could also join this potential conference and create a situation where the new conference would be eligible for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament after a few years. Two other programs that have been rumored at Iowa and Illinois but they would both join the Big Ten Conference as that is their all sport home and would not affect any other conference memberships.
All-time coaching records
As of the completion of the 2019-20 season.
|Totals||5 coaches||35 seasons||456–572–80||.448|
|Totals||2 coaches||6 seasons||154–21–4||.872|
As of October 14, 2020.
|#||S/P/C||Player||Class||Pos||Height||Weight||DoB||Hometown||Previous team||NHL rights|
|2||Lucas Bahn||Sophomore||D||5' 11" (1.8 m)||175 lb (79 kg)||1999-09-11||Hendersonville, Tennessee||West Kelowna (BCHL)||—|
|3||Drew Lennon||Junior||D||6' 2" (1.88 m)||185 lb (84 kg)||1998-01-12||Bloomington, Illinois||Lone Star (NAHL)||—|
|4||Jay Powell||Junior||D||6' 7" (2.01 m)||200 lb (91 kg)||1997-10-01||Nashville, Tennessee||Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL)||—|
|6||Ayodele Adeniye||Freshman||D||6' 5" (1.96 m)||195 lb (88 kg)||1999-03-24||Columbus, Ohio||Carleton Place (CCHL)||—|
|7||Bauer Neudecker||Junior||F||5' 8" (1.73 m)||165 lb (75 kg)||1998-06-01||St. Louis Park, Minnesota||Sioux City (USHL)||—|
|9||Quinn Green||Freshman||F||5' 11" (1.8 m)||170 lb (77 kg)||1999-01-28||West Chicago, Illinois||Topeka (NAHL)||—|
|11||Peyton Francis||Sophomore||F||6' 1" (1.85 m)||175 lb (79 kg)||1999-04-12||Oakville, Ontario||Carleton Place (CCHL)||—|
|12||Connor Merkley||Senior||F||6' 1" (1.85 m)||190 lb (86 kg)||1996-09-03||Portland, Ontario||Carleton Place (CCHL)||—|
|13||Ben Allen||Junior||F||5' 9" (1.75 m)||175 lb (79 kg)||1997-07-31||Allen, Texas||Melfort (SJHL)||—|
|14||Jonah Alexander||Freshman||F||5' 11" (1.8 m)||185 lb (84 kg)||1999-11-12||Toronto, Ontario||St. Michael's (OJHL)||—|
|15||Joshua Corrow||Freshman||D||6' 0" (1.83 m)||190 lb (86 kg)||2000-09-21||New Port Richey, Florida||Whitecourt (AJHL)||—|
|16||Connor Wood||Senior||F||5' 8" (1.73 m)||180 lb (82 kg)||1996-08-09||Buford, Georgia||Odessa (NAHL)||—|
|18||Tyrone Bronte||Freshman||F||5' 10" (1.78 m)||165 lb (75 kg)||1999-05-07||Melbourne, Australia||Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (NAHL)||—|
|19||Conor Witherspoon||Freshman||F||5' 11" (1.8 m)||170 lb (77 kg)||1999-08-02||Metamora, Michigan||Shreveport (NAHL)||—|
|20||Mick Heneghan||Freshman||D||5' 11" (1.8 m)||170 lb (77 kg)||1999-03-02||Niles, Illinois||Northeast (NAHL)||—|
|21||Frank Vitucci||Freshman||F||6' 0" (1.83 m)||180 lb (82 kg)||1999-08-04||Yardley, Pennsylvania||Wellington (OJHL)||—|
|22||Dayne Finnson||Junior||D||5' 10" (1.78 m)||175 lb (79 kg)||1997-10-01||Arborg, Manitoba||Victoria (BCHL)||—|
|23||Nick Michel||Freshman||F||5' 10" (1.78 m)||180 lb (82 kg)||1999-03-16||Waconia, Minnesota||Janesville (NAHL)||—|
|24||Tyr Thompson||Junior||F||6' 0" (1.83 m)||180 lb (82 kg)||1998-09-26||Sherwood Park, Alberta||Whitecourt (AJHL)||—|
|26||Bennett Stockdale||Freshman||F||5' 11" (1.8 m)||185 lb (84 kg)||1999-06-02||Ottawa, Ontario||Johnstown (NAHL)||—|
|27||Brian Scoville||Freshman||D||6' 3" (1.91 m)||215 lb (98 kg)||1999-03-28||Agawam, Massachusetts||Langley (BCHL)||—|
|28||Noah Finstrom||Freshman||D||5' 10" (1.78 m)||175 lb (79 kg)||1999-09-17||New Baltimore, Michigan||Jamestown (NAHL)||—|
|30||Derek Krall||Freshman||G||6' 0" (1.83 m)||170 lb (77 kg)||1999-03-04||Crofton, British Columbia||Powell River (BCHL)||—|
|33||Adrian Danchenko||Sophomore||F||6' 2" (1.88 m)||185 lb (84 kg)||1999-03-29||Palm City, Florida||Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (NAHL)||—|
|35||George McBey||Sophomore||G||6' 2" (1.88 m)||180 lb (82 kg)||1998-04-20||Dallas, Texas||Brookings (NAHL)||—|
|41||David Fessenden||Sophomore||G||6' 6" (1.98 m)||230 lb (104 kg)||1998-04-30||Parker, Colorado||Northeast (NAHL)||—|
Chargers in the NHL
- 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.
- 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.
Since the 1985-86 season through the 2015-16 season.
- 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)
- Alabama–Huntsville Chargers
- UAH Sports Information. Hockey History.
- McLaughlin, Bud. "UAH denied admission to Central Collegiate Hockey Association", August 11, 2009.
- Olsen, Becky. Cole steps in to lead NTDP’s U-17 team. USAHockey.com.[dead link]
- Chargers athletic program to see changes following budget analysis. University of Alabama-Huntsville (October 24, 2011).
- Gattis, Paul. "UAH announces plan to bring back Division I hockey program", December 6, 2011.
- Turner, John. "Charging on: UAH launches official fundraising campaign for hockey program", 2011-12-21.
- Pupello, Peter (April 4, 2012). Tampa Bay’s role as Frozen Four host proved years in the making. Tampa Bay Lightning.
- McCarter, Mark. "Ex-NHL coach Kurt Kleinendorst named new hockey coach at UAH", 2012-09-25.
- WCHA Grants Full-Time Membership to University of Alabama in Huntsville. Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
- UAH Sports Information. Kleinendorst Steps Down as Head Hockey Coach.
- UAH Tabs Mike Corbett to Lead Charger Hockey. UAHChargers.com. UAH Sports Information.
- COVID-19 Forcing UAH to Take Steps for More Budget Reductions. NCAA.
- Championship UAH Hockey Players Rally to Save Program.
- UAH spells out path to bring back canceled hockey, tennis programs.
- UAH announces hockey will return after private funds raised to support program.
- 2019–20 Men's Ice Hockey Roster. The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
- Ross goes from deep south to NHL. The American Hockey League (October 13, 2008). [dead link]
- UAH Sports Information. Hockey History & Records.
|Alabama–Huntsville Chargers men's ice hockey|
|Home ice||Von Braun Center (1979–Present)|
|Head coaches||Joe Ritch (1979–1982) - Doug Ross (1982–2007) - Danton Cole (2007–2010) - Chris Luongo (2010–2012) - Kurt Kleinendorst (2012–2013) - Mike Corbett (2013–2020) - Lance West (2020–Present)|
|Seasons||1979-80 - 1980-81 - 1981-82 - 1982-83 - 1983-84 - 1984-85 - 1985-86 - 1986-87 - 1987-88 - 1988-89 - 1989-90 - 1990-91 - 1991-92 - 1992-93 - 1993–94 - 1994-95 - 1995–96 - 1996–97 - 1997–98 - 1998–99 - 1999–2000 - 2000–01 - 2001–02 - 2002–03 - 2003–04 - 2004–05 - 2005–06 - 2006–07 - 2007–08 - 2008–09 - 2009–10 - 2010–11 - 2011–12 - 2012–13 - 2013–14 - 2014–15 - 2015–16 - 2016–17 - 2017–18 - 2018–19 - 2019–20 - 2020–21|
|Conference affiliations||Independent (1985–1999, 2010–2013), College Hockey America (1999–2010), WCHA (2013–present)|
|All-time leaders||Tony Guzzo (179 Points) - Mario Mazzuca (96 Goals) - Derek Puppa (66 Wins)|
|National championships||1995–96 (D-II) - 1997–98 (D-II)|
|NCAA Tournament appearances||2007 - 2010|
|Conference Tournament titles||College Hockey America: 2007, 2010|
|Players||Alumni - Current Roster|
|University of Alabama in Huntsville - Huntsville, Alabama|
|Division I Independent|
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