Back in 2007, Nashville Predators fans rallied to save their team, buying up tickets, drumming up interest in the team among friends, families and local businesses... doing whatever it took to keep the Preds in town.
That kind of spirit is being called upon once again, this time to help save the college hockey program at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, a proud tradition which is in danger of being eliminated within weeks unless something is done. If you're a regular visitor here, you've seen stories of how the college hockey landscape is going through tremendous turmoil, and the UAH Chargers have been left on the outside looking in.
Now, the team's varsity standing at the university is at risk - a decision could be made soon reducing the team to Club level, effectively ending a long-standing tradition of competitive collegiate hockey in Huntsville.
So what can you do? Well, you can lend a hand in a variety of ways:
- Sign the online petition imploring the university's Interim President, Dr. Malcolm Portera, to give supporters time to rally the finances needed to stabilize the program (the current threat is to summarily disband the team before the start of the upcoming season).
- Like the "Save UAH Hockey" Facebook page, to receive updates on the struggle as it continues.
- Visit SaveUAHHockey.com and consider pledging financial support of your own, no matter how much or how little.
Then follow after the jump for further details on the "Save UAH Hockey" effort...
Community Group Forms to Save UAH Hockey
Group has secured over $500,000 to support program but Chancellor Portera must hear support from the community
Huntsville, AL - Local business leaders and several UAHuntsville Alumni today announced a grassroots effort to save NCAA Division I Hockey at the University. According to recent reports UA Chancellor and UAHuntsville Acting President Mack Portera is considering abandoning NCAA Division I hockey at UAHuntsville. Since word of those plans spread supporters of the program have secured over $500,000 in pledges to support the program and offset any financial losses to the University over the next three years.
"Hockey at UAHuntsville is a part of our community and we need to save it." Said Doug Martinson, a local attorney and former school board member. "It is Huntsville's only Division I sports team and brings national recognition not only to the University but to the community as well. We need Dr. Portera to work with us to keep this program at the NCAA Division I level. Going to club level hockey is not an option and will only kill the program and provide no real benefit to the community."
Several groups of community leaders have met with Chancellor Portera to express their support for NCAA Division I Hockey at UAHuntsville and have asked that the community be consulted in this decision and have pledged to do what it takes to ensure the success of the program. Both the Madison County Commission and the Huntsville City Council have passed resolutions calling on the Administration to work with the community to save hockey at the NCAA Division I level.
"We have reached out to our alumni and friends in the community and have asked them for much needed financial support." Said Nathan Bowen, a UAHuntsville Hockey alum that now runs the Thunder AAA Hockey Club "All we are asking for is a chance to work with the school, reduce the financial burden on the University and put a long-term plan in place that will allow this program to continue to put the city of Huntsville, the University and our Student/Athletes consistently on a National stage. In a few short weeks we have raised over $500,000 in pledges to support the team and have organized campus and community drives to sell more tickets and raise excitement about NCAA DI college hockey in Huntsville. The outpouring of support shows that hockey at UAHuntsville is important not only to the alum, but to the Huntsville community as a whole."
Despite several requests from the community Chancellor Portera has not yet disclosed what must be done to save the program or provided a fundraising target required that would keep the program at the NCAA Division I level. Several community efforts are now underway to show support for the program and to persuade the Administration to give the community a chance to save this program.
"We are calling on the community to join our efforts and get involved." Said Geof Morris, founder of SaveUAHhockey.com. "Go online and sign our petition at Saveuahhockey.com, join our Facebook page, buy a season ticket or just come out to a game. The only way we can be successful is to show Chancellor Portera that we support this program and we are not going to let him take it away from our community."