When it was announced that ASU’s hockey program would become part of the NCAA Division I, questions arose as to where the team would play. We now have some answers to those questions, at least for now.
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It was announced by ASU Athletic Director Ray Anderson in an interview with AZ Central on Sunday that the ASU hockey team would continue to call Oceanside Ice Arena home for the next season as ASU begins to make the jump to NCAA Division I from the ACHA.
"“For our hybrid year (2015-16), we’ll stay at Oceanside (Arena). We’re potentially having discussions about playing some of the bigger games perhaps in Glendale if we bring a really big team in here.”"
The hybrid year Anderson refers to will be ASU playing a mix of ACHA and NCAA teams before fully joining the NCAA.
Oceanside is outdated and not an ideal location to house a team that will be playing on a much bigger stage and hosting some of the best teams in the nation. It is currently too small to be able to bring in enough revenue to support the team and program.
According to Justin Emerson of the website House of Sparky, Oceanside will be receiving major renovations for the upcoming 2015-16 season.
As the above interview only mentions the 2015-16 season, it’s unclear where the team will play after that, but there are plenty of options.
The program could stay at the new and improved Oceanside Arena, the Suns have interest in housing the team at the newly named Talking Stick Resort Arena, ASU could decide to renovate Wells Fargo Arena to accommodate hockey or build an entirely new facility on campus.
Anderson expressed some of the possibilities in a separate interview with AZ Central:
"“Everything is possible. The ideal situation would be to have your own home rink on campus to really have the college experience. That’s something we will be looking to do potentially. Do you potentially do a joint basketball-hockey facility or do you do a separate facility that accommodates hockey and some of the other Olympics sports? All those things will be evaluated.”"
Whichever option they choose, it will be an exciting time for hockey fans in the desert as ASU takes a big step in helping to grow the game of hockey in Arizona.