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Development of hockey in Alabama

by marusia
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The Alabama-Huntsville Chargers hockey program (commonly referred to as the “Hryvnia Chargers”) is an NCAA Division I college hockey program representing the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

The UAH Chargers program is one of two NCAA Division I hockey programs in the Sun Belt, the other is in Arizona State. The Chargers play their home games at Propst Arena in the von Braun Center . In 1987, Alabama Governor George Wallace declared Huntsville the “hockey capital of the South.”

Despite being a southern city that could be considered unfamiliar with winter sports such as hockey, Huntsville has been, since the 1950s and is still home to a large number of working citizens of Northern descent (and possibly some Canadian) civilian professionals. in the aerospace and defense industries, as well as officers and enlisted men in the U.S. Army who wanted to get a taste of home in their sports affection. Despite the fact that a similar demographic situation in the Atlanta market failed to make an NHL team (the Flames) profitable in the 1970s (which led to its relocation in 1980 to Calgary, Alberta), Huntsville turned out to be a completely different case in this regard. The hryvnia, with which a fair number of transplants were associated with institutions, was a convenient platform for their enthusiasm. The UAH hockey program began as a club team in the late 1970s. Joe Ritch organized the first Charger team in 1979 and was the head coach.

On October 26, 1979, the Hryvnia defeated Emory University with a score of 11: 4 in its first game. The hryvnia dominated its rivals in the first three seasons, winning three championships of the Southern University Hockey Association. The Chargers won the first of their three national club hockey championships in 1982, defeating the Southern Methodists 14-2 in the title game. In the 1982-83 season, Doug Ross became the head coach when the Chargers moved to the Central States University Hockey League. The Hryvnia lost to Marquette in the conference championship game in overtime, but the Chargers hosted the USA Hockey Championship among national university clubs, where they beat Auburn (16-2), Arizona (7-4) and Pennsylvania (5-4) in the process. to his second consecutive national championship. In 1984, the Hryvnia again hosted the club national championship, and the Chargers won their third title in a row with victories over Miami University (3-1), Indiana (13-4) and Ohio (12-1). In 1985, the hryvnia hosted the tournament for the third time, but its bid for the fourth championship in a row did not come true: the North Dakota State team lost with a score of 6: 2.

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@ ANews – Alabama state news, 2022.