Last Updated on July 6, 2023
Tennesee State University made history this week by becoming the first historically black college and university to introduce an ice hockey program. Tennessee State made this program possible by partnering with the Nashville Predators, the NHL and NHLPA. Further, the plan is to have a men’s club team competing during the 2024-2025 season.
For many years, the NHL and NHLPA have conducted feasibility studies with many colleges and universities to assess the potential of adding Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. Tennessee State, along with the NHL, conducted its feasibility study back in 2021. As a result, Tennessee State fortified strong relationships with the city of Nashville and the Nashville Predators while also generating scholarship funds for the new program.
“Bringing ice hockey to Tennessee State University is a part of our continued commitment to provide our students with new opportunities and to broaden new interests in areas where they have traditionally had limited or no access,” Tennessee State President Glenda Glover said in a statement.
Tennessee State Athletic Director Mikki Allen said the department intends to build on the contributions of the club team in hopes that the team can eventually participate at the Division I or Division II level for the 2026-2027 season.
This program represents a significant step in diversifying the sport of ice hockey.
“Together, we celebrate the power of collaboration as we dismantle barriers, diversify the game, and propel hockey into a new era of inclusivity,” Allen said. “This partnership serves as a catalyst, driving change and ensuring that the game we love embraces the beauty of diversity.”
With Tennessee State launching its inaugural ice hockey program, it further solidifies the growing ice presence in Nashville. The Nashville Predators’ support of TSU’s ice hockey program brings to the forefront the importance of community engagement in sports. While most view Nashville as the country music capital of the world, as time passes, do not be surprised if Nashville establishes itself as one of the ice hockey capitals of the South.