The rumors have been swirling since Penn State and Arizona State added NCAA Division One Hockey to their slate of athletic competition.
Rumors of South Eastern and Western United States expansion have been spreading, and becoming more openly talked about since the Big Ten made a rule change proposal that could effect all junior hockey players.
TJHN has confirmed, through multiple sources that their are two Western United States NCAA programs looking to add Division One College Hockey as soon as the 2017-2018 season.
The first school most likely to make the move following Arizona would be the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Yes, the school famous for Basketball, has a great interest in NCAA Hockey, and it makes a lot of sense with a new arena slated to open in March.
What is needed to make it happen? Money.
When Arizona State went looking for funding, Don Mullett, the father of a former Sun Devil hockey player, donated $32 million to the program. Penn State had NHL Buffalo Sabres Owner Terry Pegula fund the program with a $100 million donation.
While UNLV hasn’t found one man as generous as Mullett or Pegula, the process to raise the necessary money is well underway. Meetings are already taking place with local wealthy residents and alumni to help fund the possible program. The NHL has also been made aware of the programs intentions.
Connecting the dots……
A brand new state of the art arena. A brand conscious NCAA school. Plenty of easy travel partners available in Colorado, North Dakota, and now Arizona. And a former Arizona State Office Staffer in Zee Khan, who knows all the ins and outs of what Arizona State had to go through, is now the General Manager of UNLV’s Hockey Team playing in the ACHA.
How about adding to all of the speculation and chatter that people are talking about North Dakota and Minnesota are attempting to schedule a game in Las Vegas for Oct. 27, 2018?
Sound like a familiar situation?
The question now being asked is how the Big Ten rule change proposal could effect any NCAA hockey expansion?Expansion would require more Division One level talent.
Could that talent be found by limiting the player pool to younger players? Many people are saying it would not be good to limit that pool for expansion sake alone.
No matter what, it looks like NCAA hockey will continue to grow over the next few years. Whether its 2017 or later, expansion is coming.