Nashville Predators President and Chief Executive Officer Sean Henry has been a key player for the The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Advisory Committee in an effort for the UAH hockey program to continue play long term.
UAH announced its goals to continue the hockey program long term, in a press release on Wednesday, with the help of prominent alumni, university administration and the Huntsville community.
“This is an exciting time for UAH hockey,” UAH Athletic Director Cade Smith said in the release. “The UAH administration and our alumni have come together to make a long-term multi-million dollar, multi-year financial commitment so UAH hockey not only survives but becomes a major Division I leader that competes for conference titles and national championships.”
Goals of the group include alignment with a major conference and future plans to build an on-campus facility for the UAH hockey program. The rink would be subject to approval by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees based on the Board’s criteria, which includes fundraising goals, developing a sustainable business plan, and aligning with UAH’s budget parameters.
“The UAH hockey program has a long and cherished history,” UAH President Darren Dawson said. “We are truly grateful for the vital support from our alumni and community as we work together to ensure that the legacy of UAH hockey continues.”
Earlier this year, UAH alumni Taso Sofikitis (1996), CEO and President of Maynards Industries Group, and Sheldon Woltiski (1996), Founder and Chairman of the Board of The Select Group, led a fundraising campaign to save the program and working together to ensure a successful future for the program.
“It is great to see the support we’ve already received and we’re excited about the future,” Sofikitis was quoted. “It’s clear that people care about the UAH program and growing the game in the Southeast. Hopefully, years from now we will have teams like Alabama, Tennessee and more in Division I. We’re excited about the future.”
In addition to Henry, UAH has also recruited the help of Bill Wickett, Executive Vice President of Communications of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Minnesota Wild goalie Cam Talbot.
“The support means a lot coming from alumni,” said Wolitski. “There are so many people here in the community who have been positively impacted by UAH hockey, but when you have alumni reaching into their pockets and investing in this program for the long haul, that’s what will make it sustainable. We want to continue to see the community benefit from college hockey.”
UAH’s ties to Middle Tennessee on the current roster include sophomore defenseman Lucas Bahn (Hendersonville), junior defenseman Jay Powell (Nashville) and assistant coach Karlis Zirnis who served as head coach for the NA3HL Nashville Junior Predators Hockey Club from 2014 to 2016.
“Using the incredible success of the Charger hockey program to improve the campus as a whole can be invaluable for every facet of UAH,” said Henry in the release about the potential on campus facility. “It will continue to allow this incredible program to grow, soar and amaze us year in and year out. It will only make the school bigger and better every year.”