- Rutgers Athletics Leadership
Make B1G NCAA Ice Hockey A Reality at Rutgers University
From its inception and first official game against a “picked team of Princeton men” in 1892, Rutgers University Men’s Ice Hockey has been a student and volunteer run “club” program. With the rise in popularity of college hockey in recent years, including the 3 year-old Big Ten Hockey Conference, the time has come for Rutgers to “Go B1G” and make NCAA Division 1 Ice Hockey a reality.
Our 250+ member Rutgers Hockey alumni group, led by current General Manager Adriaan Klaassen and a small committee of dedicated and influential alumni, has been taking steps to raise support and endowment funds necessary to accomplish the goal of bringing Big Ten NCAA Ice Hockey to Rutgers.
In addition to the prospect of annual visits to NJ from current storied and successful Big Ten Hockey Conference programs at Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State, the following facts support our opinion that Big Ten NCAA Hockey at Rutgers would be a popular as well as prosperous endeavor:
• New Jersey produced 54 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Ice Hockey players in 2015 – 2016, ranking 6th most among all states. This is up from just 19 players in the 2003 – 2004 season - a 184% rise. There have also been 25 players from NJ drafted into the National Hockey League since 2000.
• New Jersey is home to 161 varsity high school hockey teams, 36 Tier-2 youth clubs, 11 Tier-1 youth clubs and 14 junior teams. An NCAA Ice Hockey team at Rutgers would become “New Jersey’s College Hockey Team” and provide a local, big-time college program for the elite youth players in NJ to idolize and aspire to.
• USA Hockey’s Atlantic District (NJ, DE, Eastern PA) is home to approximately 40,000 registered ice hockey players, over 25,000 of which are under the age of 19. There are currently ZERO NCAA Division 1 Ice Hockey programs offering scholarships in the Atlantic District.
• Over the course of the 2014 – 2015 NCAA Division 1 Hockey season, 5 out of 6 Big Ten Hockey programs were in the top 10 for average home attendance: Wisconsin (2), Minnesota (3), Penn State (7), Michigan State (8), Michigan (9). Ohio State ranked #15. Home games at Rutgers would certainly draw from the 100,000+ B1G alumni in the NY/NJ area.
• Big Ten Network (BTN) currently reaches 52+ million homes in the U.S. and Canada, including all but one of the 20 largest American markets. BTN broadcasts between 30 – 40 B1G Hockey games per year, which would inevitably grow as additional teams are added to the conference.
• There are now 4 NHL home arenas located within one hour of Rutgers - New Brunswick. All four arenas currently host annual NCAA Hockey “invitationals” in an effort to bring college hockey to the area. “Big Ten Day” was recently announced by B1G Commissioner Jim Delany, which includes hockey and basketball doubleheaders at Madison Square Garden to be played annually in January.
• As of fiscal year 2013 – 2014, its first at newly built Pegula Ice Arena, Penn State Men’s Ice Hockey became the University's 3rd profitable sport in just its 2nd season as an NCAA program. In 2014 – 2015, PSU registered its first winning record as an NCAA team and attendance for home games averaged 104% capacity.
More data is available via College Hockey Inc. - http://collegehockeyinc.com/pages/college-hockey-infographics
How you can help:
The first thing we need to do is to “GET THE WORD OUT”. Many in the NJ hockey community, as well as Rutgers alumni and administrators, are not even aware that Rutgers has a nationally competitive club hockey program that represents the university throughout the country every year. Converting our club program into an NCAA Division 1 program will be easier than building a Division 1 program from scratch, but it is a daunting challenge.
First, we need to show Rutgers the depth of the support for Division 1 NCAA hockey…
Step 1 – Show your support for B1G Hockey at Rutgers by signing this petition!
Step 2 – SPREAD THE WORD by sending this petition to everyone you know! Email it, post it on social media sites, tell friends & family, etc. The NJ hockey community needs this to become a reality to grow the greatest sport in the world even more in our area!!
Step 3 – If you would like to help in the planning to bring Division 1 Hockey to Rutgers, contact us directly via email to discuss or meet:
Rutgers Ice Hockey Alumni
- Rutgers Athletics Leadership
Let's make NCAA Ice Hockey A Reality at Rutgers University! I am in full support of this mission and will support the program in any way possible going forward!!
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