Reaction to the cancellation of the UAH hockey program

Here is some reaction to the news that UAH is cancelling the varsity hockey program:

I have put 18 years of dedication into this sport through blood sweat and tears to play Division I hockey and that was ripped away from me. I no longer have a team to play for and am disappointed.

Ayodele Adeniye, incoming freshman

My initial reaction is to think about the kids. They made a commitment to the school, community and team and to have this decision slapped in their face doesn’t seem right. Plus to drag tennis into this is ridiculous.

What makes it worse for me is I coached several of the kids, from recent grads to commitments that are still a year or two away and guys in between. Naturally, the Preds and NHL are readily available for most to watch, at least on television, but UAH was the college team kids from Tennessee, Georgia and naturally Alabama could relate too, where they could really put their dream into a vision to drive them forward. This decision leaves a huge void for youth hockey in America now.

To the UAH hockey family, there have been a lot more sour days than great days recently, but anytime I was at the rink, regardless of the score, everyone always had a smile on their face. Our experiences together made my time as a player and fan so memorable and fortunately the trustees can’t take away.

I hope there is an opportunity to give the program a legitimate shot. Taso, Sheldon and others have been tremendous supporters of the team and more importantly the entire athletics department. For leadership to treat those pillars with very little regard makes writing this note a little easier.
Unfortunately, this horse has been shot at many times, hopefully these chargers are able to get out of the stable once again.

Cheers to Charger Hockey.

Steve Milosevski, forward (2000-04)

It’s hard to put into words how sad, angry, disgusted (and any other synonyms) I am with what has transpired with the University of Alabama-Huntsville president and athletic director in their move to disband the Chargers hockey program. It hurts because I was there at Day One, a summer afternoon in 1979 when it was announced UAH would have a club hockey program. It hurts because I played two years for the Chargers. It hurts because I know how much the community embraced the Chargers. It hurts because some young men – as recent as Thursday – were making plans to come to Huntsville to be UAH student athletes. It hurts because the 28 current players are having to find other schools if they want to continue playing collegiate hockey. And it hurts because the announcement came late Friday afternoon on a holiday weekend, aka “Friday news dump.” There was no press conference even though eliminating the sole NCAA Division I program at a NCAA Division II institution is pretty important news – especially because of how the Chargers hockey team is part of the fabric that is Huntsville. Hell, the announcement was on a news statement halfway down the home page of with the headline: “COVID-19 forcing UAH to take steps for more budget reductions”. There was no meeting with alums or community leaders to discuss options and alternatives to cutting the program. The administration cold-blooded axed a 41-year-old program that has produced the school’s only NCAA national championships – yes, two national championships; a program that brought national acclaim to UAH; a program whose alumni have become presidents and CEOs of national and international businesses; a program that saw its alums raise some $225K annually – no other UAH team comes near that. And now it’s gone. I can state that I am proud to be a former Charger hockey player and I am proud to call my former teammates and other former Chargers my brothers. But I am not proud of UAH, and that really hurts.

Bud McLaughlin, goaltender (1980-82)

UAH hockey has always been my Alabama football or Auburn football. Growing up here in Huntsville I was certainly an anomaly in the ’90s by being able to play for UAH hockey. I have always taken pride in the program and done my best to support it. For the administration to completely dismiss it every year for so long is just ridiculous. No program in the country has fought as hard just to exist as UAH hockey. Yhere are so many quality individuals that have been a part of this program in varying capacities (players, staff, volunteers, etc). 

I have many questions, but the first is why didn’t the administrators reach out to the alumni and boosters prior to making this decision? Did they not learn anything from 2012? Do they think we didn’t deserve the chance to try and save the program?  Sure maybe it isn’t possible but let us try. Everyone I know equates UAH athletics with hockey. That has to mean something, or maybe not.

Matt Parker, forward (1994-98)

Sad and disappointed to hear of the University’s decision to cut the hockey program at UAH. They gave me the opportunity to continue my playing career after juniors and the platform to achieve my dream of playing in the NHL. I wish all the students athletes affected by this all the best and hope they can find a new home to continue to follow their dreams of playing hockey at the collegiate level.

Cam Talbot, goaltender (2007-10)