I saw the post on another board about a College or University in Georgia that may end up with a D-I hockey program. Any California colleges that would consider this? We are getting some grassroots players here that either end up playing for Denver or Colorado College (i.e. Gabe Gauthier, Noah Clarke, Brett Sterling) or they end up going to the WHL (Raymond Macias, Nathan Crochmal, Mitch Wahl, Colin Redden, etc). I would love to see D-1 hockey in California
US International breifly had a D-1 program in the 80's Notable mainly for cutting Cris Chelios They were beset by scheduling problems being an outlier on the College hockey landscape. They formed a conference with Northern Arizona, Alaska-Anchoridge and A-Fairbanks, but couldn't stay in college hockey.
Colorado remains the western extent of NCAA hockey in the lower 48.
Don't think there will ever be the local interest in college hockey in California to add a Division 1 program to any colleges. Remember, there are standards that schools must reach in order to add Div 1 programs (including, if I recall correctly, minimum attendance levels).
The closest thing to college hockey you'll find around here are the UCLA and USC programs and the rest of the Pac-8 which is club-level hockey.
Saxon Sports Information and Research
INCH: Coming from Southern California, was college hockey a part of what you expected to do in your athletic career?
Sterling: Not really. When I started out I was just playing to play. As I started to get higher in the ranks, college became an option, but I really wasn’t sure I had a shot at college hockey. I was playing in a lot of select festivals, and got asked to play in the national program. Once I got to Ann Arbor, I knew college hockey would be the route I’d go.
If a school did add hockey, it would probably be a nonfootball school looking to hop to D-1. A hockey program is a good way to sidestep the shadows of football and basketball powers.
California is 8th on the list of registered hockey players in the US. ABout 18k, ahead of New Jersey, Ohio Conneticut and Colorado. Trailing Wisconsin by a bit. However the registered players per capita is lower than the national average.
The big problem is what sank USIU, distance. A team in California would have to find a conference ECAC, Hockey East, and AHA are all eastern conferences (despite Air Force moving in) the CCHA is bloated at 12 teams, the CHA lost its westernmost memeber so is centered around the Great Lakes and South East and the WCHA probably doesn't want to expand and if they did they'd take Bemidji and Air Force most likely.
So what California will need in that regard is for a mid-major level conference to form in the west, whic will take some thickening up of the programs in the midwest and a push into the rockies.