Alabama-Huntsville hockey saved by $500K in donations

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Alabama-Huntsville's hockey program has a reprieve -- for now.

Athletic director Cade Smith said Friday that "numerous individual donors" combined to raise more than $500,000 this week to help save the program from the chopping block.

Two other gifts of $125,000 each from longtime supporters Taso Sofikitis and Sheldon Wolitski provided enough money to allow the Chargers to continue competing at the Division I level for the 2020-21 season.

The $750,000 is the largest athletic campaign contribution in UAH history. UAH had announced the elimination of hockey and men's and women's tennis amid the financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

University president Darren Dawson committed university money to cover the balance of the hockey team's operations during the upcoming season.

Dawson says a new hockey advisory board will work with supporters of the program and the university to fund hockey after next season.