Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is Hockey In Indiana's Athletic Future?

Today’s earth-shattering question that does not involve the Manning Bowl, Cody Zeller or Boise State football centers on this fundamental issue:

Should hockey be in Indiana’s future?

Say what?

Has somebody been drinking?

Glad you asked.

The short answer is no, hockey should not be in IU’s future. It has plenty to worry about with the 24 sports it has, let alone adding another. It doesn’t have an on-campus ice skating facility, and the Bloomington community ice rink is not suited for a major college team.

The long answer is that Penn State, courtesy of an $88 million gift from a really rich couple, is about to launch its own hockey program.

Nittany Lion hockey will have its own arena, next to the basketball facility, Jordan Center. The new arena will be a multi-purpose facility and have all sorts of bells and whistles. Both a men’s and a women’s teams will be established. It will give Penn State 31 overall sports.

Penn State, in case you don’t know, has had a club hockey team, the Icers, since 1971. It has won seven American Collegiate Hockey Association national titles. We’re not sure what that organization is, but we are sure winning it seven times is a big plus, at least big enough for somebody to donate $88 million.

Did you know that five Big Ten schools play Division I hockey in two different leagues because the Big Ten doesn’t do hockey.

Minnesota and Wisconsin compete in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. With six conference schools playing hockey, the Big Ten could begin its own hockey league.

Big Ten officials like the idea. They will consider adding a conference hockey championship. Conference rules allow for that kind of championship if there are at least six schools sponsoring a program.

So why don’t the Hoosiers make it an uneven seven Big Ten hockey programs? They do, after all, offer women’s sports in rowing, field hockey and water polo that have no counterparts at the Indiana high school level, or really anywhere in the state. One could suggest that women’s hockey would be a better fit than rowing, that it would draw fans and boost athletic diversity.

Are we suggesting that?

We’re still bruised from the email and phone call beatings by unhappy Alabama and Ohio State fans over our voting Boise State No. 1.

We’ll stick with no comment.


  1. While I have always enjoyed watching IU Basketball and Football, my two graduate degrees are from Miami University which has a rather vibrant Hockey program. They don't try to match the "Big Boys" in terms of a huge arena but we do quite well against those guys. IU needs to start a program and design a building that can expand if it is ever necessary. I know that is not typical IU which tends to go all out but it would be a start and see how it takes. It is a good complement to the basketball program during the winter and a team like Miami would be a natural rival for them.

  2. IU does have a ACHA D1 club hockey program. They have been successful in the past & play other schools (i.e. Penn St.) from across the country.

  3. If you are going to add a men's sport, Men's volleyball should be next. They have the facilities, would compete with OSU and Penn State as well as Ball State, IPFW within Indiana. This would also push programs like MSU, IL, and Michigan into the mix if they wanted another BigTen Championship. Low cost and would draw as much as hockey.

  4. Sorry, but no students are going to go to a Men's volleyball game. Yes they have the facilities and if IPFW can do it, so can IU. But unfortunately Title IX has a stranglehold on Athletic Director's who have to keep womens sports on par with mens. Which in my opinion is BS.

  5. We'd love to see women's hockey at IU!!!!!! Is anything in the works???

  6. If you look at the numbers and note that men's hockey generates revenue that outweighs the costs at schools like Michigan and Wisconsin then your conclusion should be different. Minnesota and Wisconsin were able to gain. You probably do not like hockey. Indiana should do this because men's hockey is a sport that can profit with the BIG10 network. It has reasonably comparable attendance in the pros with basketball. I say do it as soon as you can or you will be forced to play catch-up with Nebraska or Iowa and your team will be almost as bad and destitute as the football program is. You tell us in 10 years the same thing you are pontificating about now. Thank you for posing the question because the time to invest may be closer than you think.