College Hockey South Expands
By: Kathryn Sheytanian
College Hockey South has grown immensely over the past few years, and will now add five new teams to the conference in the upcoming season.
The conference will add three men’s Division III teams; Austin Peay State University, Rollins College and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Along with the men’s teams, two women’s teams will be added as well; the University of Alabama and Georgia Southern University.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is back in action after several years off.
Austin Peay State University will play their first year in the 2024/2025 season. Team president Cooper Smith shares some words on the creation of the team.
“Our program here at Austin Peay started because of the hard work and dedication of our University President, Dr. Michael Licari and the Nashville Predators organization,” said Smith. “With the new construction of Ford Ice Center and F&M Bank Arena here in Clarksville, our hopes of having a collegiate hockey team became possible.”
CHS is happy to announce that in the past two years, it has added eight women’s teams to the conference and plans to add more in the future.
Georgia Southern does not have a men’s hockey program, so this will be the school’s first hockey team. “I think that is a pretty big deal. We are trying to grow the game.” says Lena Whitwell, team president.
“I grew up playing hockey with boys. I’ve never played with girls before and this led me to want to start a girls program here at Georgia Southern.” says Whitwell.
There are also teams moving up a division. Florida Southern College and the University of Miami, both Division III teams, will move up to Division II in the upcoming 2024/2025 season. Clemson University, Florida Atlantic University and University of Miami will add Division III teams in the upcoming season as well.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth in the South when it comes to hockey recently,” said CHS Commissioner Kyle Knell. “More and more students are showing up on campus causing programs to create multiple teams. I’m excited to see the continued growth in the conference, especially within our Women’s Division.”
ABOUT College Hockey South: Founded in 2008, College Hockey South is a 29-school, 46 team intercollegiate hockey conference spanning seven southeastern U.S. states that competes in AAU College Hockey. College Hockey South is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization.