NASHVILLE -- For what is believed to be the first time in history, a historically black college or university (HBCU) will offer the sport of ice hockey at the collegiate level.
Tennessee State University announced today the school will add a men’s hockey program with the intention of beginning play during the 2024-25 season. The men’s team will initially operate as a non-varsity club-level program with aspirations of eventually adding women’s non-varsity club hockey and elevating both programs to NCAA Division I status.
The announcement was made at Bridgestone Arena, home of the NHL’s Nashville Predators, prior to the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
The NHL and NHLPA, in collaboration with College Hockey Inc., funded an independent feasibility study in 2021 to assess the viability of collegiate hockey at TSU. As part of their larger partnership, College Hockey Inc., the NHL and NHLPA, will fund a feasibility study for any school interested in adding NCAA Division I men’s and/or women’s hockey.
“Bringing ice hockey to Tennessee State University is a part of our continued commitment to provide our students with new opportunities and to broaden new interests in areas where they have traditionally had limited or no access,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.
“We appreciate our ongoing partnership with the Nashville Predators which has played a pivotal role in our decision to pursue this historic undertaking, of starting an ice hockey program at TSU, and the first for an HBCU. TSU has a tremendous legacy in athletics. Adding ice hockey to our programs will start a new chapter and build upon that legacy.”
Said TSU Director of Athletics Dr. Mikki Allen: “Together, we celebrate the power of collaboration as we dismantle barriers, diversify the game, and propel hockey into a new era of inclusivity. This partnership serves as a catalyst, driving change and ensuring that the game we love embraces the beauty of diversity. With Tennessee State University, the NHL, and the Nashville Predators working hand in hand, we have the potential to reshape the future of hockey and inspire generations to come. Together, we will forge a path towards a more inclusive and united hockey community.”
TSU’s addition of hockey continues the recent trend of schools adding the sport.
“The significance of Tennessee State adding hockey is monumental, not just for college hockey but for the entire sport of hockey. We’re thankful for the significant, ongoing investment made by the NHL and NHLPA in spurring the growth of college hockey. We hope this is the first of many feasibility studies the NHL and NHLPA fund at HBCUs across the country,” said College Hockey Inc. Executive Director Mike Snee.
For more information, please see the official TSU press release HERE.