Arizona State to compete at the highest level of NCAA hockey starting in 2015 –
Arizona State Vice President of University Athletics Ray Anderson announced that the 2014 ACHA National Championship ASU Men’s Ice Hockey program will be participating at the NCAA Division I level starting in the 2015-16 season.
The announcement was made possible by hockey supporters, including Don Mullett, the father of former Sun Devil hockey student-athlete Chris Mullett, who came together to donate $32 million to elevate the program.
From ASU VP of University Athletics Ray Anderson:
“Head coach Greg Powers has built a powerhouse ice hockey program here in Tempe, and because of his work it was probably a matter not of ‘if’ but ‘when’ Sun Devil Hockey would be ready to compete at the highest level. I am grateful for the generosity shown by our hockey supporters to make this move possible, and I am hopeful that more members of the extended Sun Devils Athletics family will help us grow this program for the future.”
From contributor Don Mullet:
“I am privileged to help usher in a new chapter for Sun Devil Hockey and help elevate the program into a position to compete for an NCAA Championship. Currently Sun Devil Hockey is dominating its competition. I can only imagine the success the program can achieve under Ray Anderson’s plan for the future of Sun Devil Athletics.”
ASU Sun Devil Hockey put together the best season in program history in 2013-14 with an overall record of 38-2-0 winning their first-ever ACHA National Championship. Coach GregPowers, who joined the staff in 2010 and holds an all-time record of 147-25-8, has guided the hockey program into elite ACHA club status under his watch. He was named ACHA National Coach of the Year in 2014.
From Head Coach Greg Powers:
“The resources Sun Devil Athletics can provide will bring our program to new heights. Within a few years of having 18 scholarships available, ASU will eventually compete at the elite level of NCAA DI Hockey and you will see the Sun Devils in the Frozen Four. Beyond adding the sport, there are now young men and women who have opportunities to compete for NCAA Championships and receive a quality education.”
The Sun Devils will play a hybrid schedule in 2015 with a mixture of DI and ACHA completion and will phase into Division I competition over the next three years. In 2016 they will play a full DI schedule independent of conference alignment. The team plans to transition to full Division I membership in 2017, complete with the induction of the ice hockey team into conference competition. A more concrete operational and structural plan for Sun Devil hockey will roll out over the next six to nine months.
This is an exciting time for hockey fans in the valley. Congratulations to VP of University Athletics Ray Anderson, General Manager Ken Lind, and Head Coach Greg Powers for achieving something that would have been unthinkable ten years ago. Their commitment to excellence opened a lot of eyes in the hockey world from coast to coast in Canada and the United States. Well done guys!