Tennessee State University is considering expanding its athletics program for a somewhat unexpected sport — ice hockey.
TSU is teaming up with the NHL and the Nashville Predators to gauge the feasibility of adding varsity men’s and women’s hockey teams. If the school were to, it would be a first.
“The idea of establishing a collegiate hockey program at TSU is a tremendous opportunity as the nation’s first HBCU to take on this endeavor,” President Glenda Glover said in a statement. “This allows us to expand the sport, increase diversity, and introduce a new fan base.”
The NHL began sponsoring these kinds of studies in 2017 to help universities work through the details of establishing varsity hockey programs. The Preds, meanwhile, have so far built four new facilities in Middle Tennessee as they try to spread ice hockey in the region.
Across the state, just the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University have teams — both of which are men’s squads that play at the club level.
“Despite the absence of a Division-I hockey program, the state is filled with talented prospective student-athletes that could build a winning program at Tennessee State University,” said Dr. Mikki Allen, TSU’s director of athletics.
Results of the TSU study are expected in the late fall.