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Oakland University to explore adding men's, women's hockey

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Posted at 6:23 PM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-16 18:23:14-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) -- Oakland University announced Monday it will take part in an NCAA feasibility study to explore adding men's and women's hockey programs.

The announcement, held in conjunction with the Red Wings, the NHL and its players association, took place at Little Caesars Arena.

Oakland and Illinois are the first two schools to take part in the study, which is funded by the NHL and NHLPA. The study will examine several factors necessary for NCAA schools to start and maintain hockey programs.

“We, at Oakland University, are very appreciative of being selected to take part in a feasibility study for the sport of intercollegiate hockey,” Oakland athletic director Jeff Konya said in a release. “We want to extend our gratitude to the organizations that made this possible, namely the NHL, the NHLPA, College Hockey Inc., and of course, the Detroit Red Wings who will be an invaluable resource as we review this potential opportunity.”

Seven schools in Michigan currently field NCAA Division I men's hockey programs: Michigan, Michigan State, Western Michigan, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan, and Michigan Tech. There are not currently any NCAA Division I women's hockey programs in Michigan.

“This is exciting news for hockey players and fans in the Metro Detroit area,” Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill said in a release. “As someone who played and coached college hockey in Michigan I know all about the positive impact the sport has on the student-athletes, the communities they play in and the young fans who attend games. Personally, with my daughter playing youth hockey, I’m really excited about the potential of adding the first Division-I women’s program in the state. It’s an important step to continuing the growth of the college game.”