Illinois to take part in NHL Feasibility Study


Austin Yattoni

Illini won 4-3 in a shootout with a goal from Cruickshank on Jan. 22. Illinois is taking part in a feasibility study from the National Hockey League.

By Cole Henke, Sports Editor

The University of Illinois will be taking part in a feasibility study to determine if it could support a varsity hockey program in the future.

The study will be led by both the NHL and the NHLPA as part of an initiative taken to increase interest in the sport nationwide. Illinois will be one of five universities taking part in the study.

Athletic Director Josh Whitman said at a press conference to announce the study that he likes the idea of a varsity hockey program at the University, but at the moment there are a lot of variables.

“There are many questions yet unanswered, the biggest being funding for such an ambitious project,” Whitman said on Friday. “But by engaging in this evaluation in such a public manner, our hope is that it helps us identify those from the hockey community who might have an interest in supporting this initiative. We believe it could be transformative for our athletic program, our university, and our community.”

The University of Illinois is currently home to one of the best club hockey programs in the nation. The team plays its game at the Illinois Ice Arena on East Armory Ave, but the University would have to seek funding for a new, bigger stadium for a varsity program.

The Big Ten currently has seven varsity hockey programs.

The feasibility study will also have to factor in Title IX considerations, annual expenses and community support.

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