Universities around the country have been evaluating its budgets over the last few weeks and unfortunately several programs have been cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Associated Press, nearly 100 athletic programs have been eliminated due to budget concerns. One program to be cut was the University of Alabama Huntsville Hockey Program.

Luckily, thanks to private donations, the UAH Hockey team will be back in action in the 2020-21 season. According to a statement by UAH, put on Twitter by Olivia Whitmire of WHNT 19, the Chargers Hockey program raised $750,000 in four days to save the program for another year.

Courtesy of @OmwhitmireTV
Courtesy of @OmwhitmireTV

UAH alumni were able to raise $500,000 in a Gofundme campaign and by selling Tshirts. The rest of the money was donated by two wealthy alumni and longtime program supporters, Taso Sofikitis and Sheldon Wolitski, each donating $125,000.

Sofikitis is the CEO of Maynards Industries and Wolitski is the founder of The Select Group. The university announced it was cutting the hockey team last Friday, May 22 and told Sofikitis and Wolitski that the $750,000 would need to be raised by the close of business yesterday.

According to Michael Napier, University President Dr. Darren Dawson said the next step is to stabilize the program long-term.

“We are hopeful that this support will translate into a sustainable funding model that will allow the UAH hockey program to rise again to high levels of success," said Dawson.

The UAH Hockey program has been successful at each level of competition in program history. Beginning as a club sport in 1979, the Chargers won three consecutive club national championships from 1983-1985. The program moved up to Division II and won national championships in 1996 and 1998. After elevating to Division I in 1999 the program earned NCAA Tournament bids in 2007 and 2010.

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