Oct. 16, 2017

College Hockey Inc. Release | USA Today Release | NHL.com Release

DETROIT -- Oakland University was one of five Division I schools in the nation to be selected by the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey Players Association (NHLPA) to evaluate the possibility of adding hockey as a varsity sport announced by NHL's Vice President of Business Development and International Affairs Kevin Westgarth, Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland and Oakland University Director of Athletics Jeff Konya on Monday. The NHL and NHLPA will fund a feasibility study to explore the potential of adding men’s and women’s Division I hockey at Oakland.

“We, at Oakland University, are very appreciative of being selected to take part in a feasibility study for the sport of intercollegiate hockey,” Konya said. “We want to extend our gratitude to the organizations that made this possible, namely the NHL, the NHLPA, College Hockey Inc., and of course, the Detroit Red Wings who will be an invaluable resource as we review this potential opportunity.”

This feasibility study will analyze the many factors necessary for Oakland to start and maintain a hockey program, including, but not limited to, one-time and annual expenses, funding opportunities, facility needs, Title IX considerations and Oakland student and community support. Any decisions on the possible addition of hockey will be made at the conclusion of the feasibility study. No deadline has been set for the completion of the study.

"We are thrilled to be included in this feasibility study because we recognize the myriad benefits that will accrue to Oakland University, our student-athletes, our entire student population and our region, should we move forward as a NCAA Division I hockey team,” said Oakland University President Dr. Ora H. Pescovitz. “Strong athletic programs help keep students actively engaged in campus life, which in turn helps ensure that they will complete their studies and go on to find great victories in the game of life. We are grateful to all of the feasibility study partners for helping to provide our students every advantage possible."

There are 60 schools across the country that sponsor NCAA Division I men’s college hockey, competing among six different conferences. Collegiate hockey has proven to be a direct pipeline to the NHL, as every Michigan native on the Detroit Red Wings played college hockey, all in the state of Michigan. Of Michiganders in the NHL, 89 percent of them played NCAA hockey, while the 12 schools in Michigan and its border states have produced 10 percent of all NHL players.

The state of Michigan does not currently have a university that sponsors NCAA Division I women’s hockey, while there are seven schools state-wide providing men’s hockey at the Division I level. Currently, there are 35 institutions in the country that have a Division I women’s hockey program, competing within four conferences.

Academically, men’s hockey has shown remarkable success, boasting a 91.6 percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) in the latest data released November 2016, which places hockey fifth among all men’s Division I sports. Women’s hockey also continues to be dominant academically, posting a 94.9 percent GSR, eighth among all women’s Division I sports. Both men’s and women’s hockey ranked fourth among all NCAA Division I sports in the most recent four-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) averages.

Oakland has had club hockey since 1999 and last added a varsity sport in the 2007-08 season with men’s and women’s indoor track and field.

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