The University of Arkansas Men’s Ice Hockey Club will move to the top division of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, school officials announced on Tuesday.
Along with the elevation to Division 1, the Razorbacks will also join the Western Collegiate Hockey League for the 2015-16 season.
While the club is not one of the 19 NCAA-sponsored sports within the university’s athletic department, the ice Hogs do compete against other club programs in the Southeastern Conference.
Arkansas is the first SEC school to make the move to Division I.
“We are thrilled to be the first ever SEC school to make this move and build on the University of Arkansas’ rich tradition of providing top-caliber academic and athletic opportunities for its students,” said head coach Brian Gallini, who is also a faculty member of the University of Arkansas School of Law. “We look forward to continuing to grow the hockey footprint in Arkansas.”
In moving to the WCHL, the Hogs join Arizona State University, the University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma University, the University of Arizona, the University of Colorado, and Colorado State. The league will also welcome Missouri State to its ranks for the 2015-16 season.
“The WCHL is already the most competitive league in the ACHA DI ranks and it just got tougher with the addition of Arkansas and Missouri State,” said Chris Perry, WCHL commissioner. “The fact that Arkansas — along with Missouri State — was unanimously accepted into the WCHL speaks volumes about the quality of the Razorback hockey program and the respect they’ve earned throughout all levels of ACHA hockey.”
Since 2009, the Arkansas hockey program has amassed an overall record of 148-45-4, including two trips to the Division III National Tournament and four SECHC conference playoff tournament championships.
The team’s home games are played at The Jones Center for Families in Springdale. The Razorbacks’ next game is against McKendree at 4 p.m. Jan. 17 (see full schedule).