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Tennessee State Makes History As First HBCU With Hockey As A Sport

July 3, 2023 | By Kali Girl

According to the NHL, Tennessee State University is breaking barriers as the first HBCU in the United States to introduce men’s club hockey.

The historic announcement was made at Bridgestone Arena, accompanied by esteemed partners such as the NHL, NHL Players’ Association, Nashville Predators, and College Hockey Inc.

“Bringing ice hockey to Tennessee State University is part of our continued commitment to provide our students with new opportunities and to broaden new interests in areas where they had limited or no access,” TSU president Glenda Glover said. “We appreciate our ongoing partnership with the Nashville Predators, which has played a pivotal role in our decision to pursue this historic undertaking.”

Starting in 2024-25, TSU plans to commence play, with the goal of eventually attaining NCAA Division I status. Home games will be held at one of the Predators’ Ford Ice Center facilities.

The decision to offer club hockey at TSU came after a 2021 feasibility study, funded by the NHL and NHLPA’s Industry Growth Fund, which examined the required resources such as cost, personnel, and facilities for establishing a team.

“We are thrilled whenever we have a chance to add any hockey program at the collegiate level, but to be able to announce the addition of club hockey at Tennessee State University is truly special,” NHL vice president hockey development & strategic collaboration Kevin Westgarth said.

“Welcoming club hockey at a storied HBCU is a meaningful step in the right direction for the sport and will undoubtedly contribute to the vibrant hockey community and inspire future players.”

TSU aims to introduce NCAA Division I women’s hockey in the future, following the successful paths of Arizona State University and Penn State University.

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