The Chargers of Alabama Huntsville have already shown massive on and off ice improvement from years past to start the season. Today, they lost a 3-2 tough game against the Lakers of Lake Superior State that included the Chargers playing from behind while showing speed and dominance for the middle third of the game. Now, this team is on its way to Ferris State to play the Bulldogs to close out the 2019 portion of their schedule.
This article is about the long run, and some simple commentary on the future of the Chargers barring a change of heart from the CCHA. Based on what we know, the other conference that they have been working on trying to get to is the Atlantic Hockey Association which make some sense for the Chargers going forward.
Here are some reasons why:
Stylistically, after seeing AIC and Air Force knock off the number one seed in the last two Regionals, we have noted that Atlantic Hockey typically plays the type of game the Chargers are now playing. Watching a lot of it in that time confirms that as well. When AIC won their tournament game, they did not do so with flash, but grit and determination. The Yellow Jackets got key turnovers at the right times, and played a grinding game to win. This Charger team, with its speed infusion over the summer, combined with its defense corps stocked with skill and physicallity reminds us a bit of that AIC team.
When the Chargers ventured north to play Robert Morris, they traveled roughly about three hours less by bus to play the Colonials than they did to play the Lakers. That is six hours round trip of savings for the school, and it allows the Chargers to play split schedules which are a hallmark of Atlantic Hockey (play two teams in two days per weekend). For their opponents, Huntsville is anywhere from a 10-15 hour drive but it would be a quick flight to Nashville and a drive, or given the times we live in, the longest bus trip most of them would need to make.
Last year, on an average attendance basis, the Chargers did better than eight of their potential future conference mates despite winning only two games. Hockey demand in Huntsville is real, as evidenced by the fact that ,well, the Chargers still are an active program. The town and those that love what Charger Hockey means stepped up and mobilized in an unprecedented way to help this team, and during the first season with no venue capacity restrictions, we think the Chargers will be near the top of the league.
The Advisory Board
The Advisory Board has been the biggest Revelation to this program, and we are glad that the board and school now have 17 million dollars over the next decade guaranteed to help this program compete at the level it needs to win. In addition, the public show of support from the school in comitting to back this program in its goals to get into a new conference means a lot for Atlantic Hockey given the growing institutional support for each of its schools.
Going forward, this board is the biggest difference for Huntsville and any conference they end up joining. Not only do you get a school that works hand-in-glove with NASA, and one with a strong tradition of excellence they are trying to bring back, you get the board. Because of the board, you get a group of advocates working to better market a team which should in turn help the conference out. Given that the President of the Nashville Predators is a part of this board, it is not at all outlandish to see an Atlantic Hockey Showcase at Bridgestone Arena, or a yearly holiday tournament that the Chargers host. This board is on the front lines of hockey in the southeast, representing the only Division One Team there, and has every incentive to grow Atlantic Hockey along with UAH Hockey.
The Chargers still have work to do to get into a conference, a much needed part of their plan to get back to the mountaintop of this game, and we think based on location, style, attendance, and the board that Atlantic Hockey makes the most sense. Feel free to follow us on Twitter @SeamoreSports and tweet some other reasons Atlantic Hockey makes sense as the new home for Charger Hockey.
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