They’re expanding athletic opportunities for students!
Tennessee State University (TSU) has just announced the addition of ice hockey to its athletic roster, making history as the first HBCU to offer the sport, TSU Tigers reports. Expected to launch its inaugural season in 2024, the sport will start at the club-level, hoping to eventually achieve NCAA Division I status for both men’s and women’s ice hockey. The goal is to promote inclusiveness in the sport and expand opportunities for student-athletes. The University is starting with the basics, building a strong foundation that will contribute to the overall longevity and success of the program.
“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…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 President Glenda Glover.
The University credits its interest in ice hockey to its continued partnership with the Nashville Predators and the National Hockey League (NHL). The Predators joined the University as a significant donor during its 2020 “One Million in One Month” campaign. They also continued their contributions to TSU’s scholarship programs, expanding opportunities for internships and job opportunities with the organization. In 2021, College Hockey Inc. conducted a study about the potential significance of having ice hockey at an HBCU, eventually prompting TSU to bring the sport to its campus.
The TSU Department of Athletics will oversee the new sport, currently looking to hire a Director of Club Hockey Operations. The NHL, NHL Players Association, College Hockey Inc. and Nashville Predators will all continue to lend their support in ensuring the success of the team. The moment is trailblazing for the HBCU community and pays homage to the long history of Black athletes in the sport. The new sports addition creates new opportunities for student-athletes at these schools. It is the University’s hope to create a pipeline for future generations of players that will expand the larger hockey community.
“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,” said Dr. Mikki Allen, TSU Director of Athletics.
Cover photo: Tennessee State University makes history as first HBCU with ice hockey/Photo Courtesy of Tennessee State University