Illinois partnering with NHL

Illinois partnering with NHL

CHICAGO — Illinois will partner with the NHL and NHLPA to evaluate the possible addition of hockey as a varsity sport. The NHL and NHLPA will fund feasibility studies at five universities across the country — Illinois being the first — exploring the potential of adding men's and women's hockey programs.

The studies were announced Friday afternoon at a joint press conference hosted by the NHL at the United Center before the start of the 2017 NHL Draft. Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman was among the speakers in attendance.

"The idea of varsity hockey at the University of Illinois has great appeal," Whitman said in a release. "With hockey's popularity in both Chicago and St. Louis, and rapidly growing youth participation across the state, we anticipate tremendous interest in the sport at our university. We are grateful to College Hockey, Inc., USA Hockey and our colleagues with the Chicago Blackhawks, who have been incredibly supportive during our preliminary due diligence.

"We will add sport programs only if they can enhance the brand and reputation of the Fighting Illini by being nationally competitive, and our initial research reveals a number of factors that suggest hockey at Illinois could quickly grow into one of the country's most successful programs. There are many questions yet unanswered, the biggest being funding for such an ambitious project.

"But by engaging in this evaluation in such a public manner, our hope is that it helps us identify those from the hockey community who might have an interest in supporting this initiative. We believe it could be transformative for our athletic program, our university, and our community."

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BruckJr wrote on June 23, 2017 at 5:06 pm

"We will add sport programs only if they can enhance the brand and reputation of the Fighting Illini by being nationally competitive, and our initial research reveals a number of factors that suggest hockey at Illinois could quickly grow into one of the country's most successful programs."

I believe the fencing team won the national title more than once before they were disbanded in the early 90s for being too male.  There have been very few national titles in any sport since then.  Not only has fencing been more competitive than hockey it has been more competitive than most other programs on campus.

fuddrules wrote on June 24, 2017 at 2:06 am

But what he was quoted right above that is part of it too.  Nobody  cares about fencing.  Nobody.