Long Island University shocked the college hockey world on Thursday, announcing the formation of a new Division I men’s ice hockey team that, according to a press release, will begin play this coming season.
LIU’s announcement was so out of nowhere that College Hockey, Inc., the marketing arm of college hockey that has worked with schools as they prepare to add programs, had no idea the announcement was coming according to College Hockey News.
The timeframe is an ambitious one, considering the season is presumably five months away and LIU doesn’t have a coach, players or a schedule. It should be noted that at this point in the calendar year, most 2020-21 schedules are already set by the individual programs.
“We are thrilled to be adding men’s ice hockey to the sport opportunities for our student-athletes,” athletic director William Martinov said in a statement. “NCAA Division I men’s hockey is one of the most exciting sports out there, and we are pleased to be able to provide another opportunity for young hockey players nationwide. Coach Rob Morgan and his women’s ice hockey team proved this season that there is a real hunger for a chance to play hockey on Long Island, and winning a championship in their first season has been a great experience for our entire Shark family. We look forward to the same success for our men’s team.”
The women’s team played games this season at Syosset Ice Works and Northwell Health Ice Center. Syosset is the practice rink for the New York Islanders.
The program will play as a Division I independent this season and it will reportedly seek a conference alignment for the following year.