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Tennessee State To Have First HBCU Hockey Program In the Country

History has been made for one historically Black college.


Tennessee State University will be the first HBCU to embark on an ice hockey program, according to ESPN’s Ryan S. Clark, who used to be a good safety for the Pittsburg Steelers. The announcement was made at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday.

Before the official announcement, the following message from Tennessee State was put out.

"Tennessee State University, in partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL), National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA), and the Nashville Predators, invites members of the media to a press conference at Bridgestone Arena to announce a significant milestone: TSU's groundbreaking initiative as the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to introduce ice hockey at the collegiate level."

The announcement was buzzing on social media as well.

This idea of a hockey team at Tennessee State has long been in the works. In May 2021, the program made an announcement that it would conduct a feasibility study to see if they could even establish varsity men’s and women’s hockey teams at Tennessee State, according to

"The idea of establishing a collegiate hockey program at TSU is a tremendous opportunity as the nation's first HBCU to take on this endeavor," TSU President Glenda Glover said in 2021. "This allows us to expand the sport, increase diversity, and introduce a new fan base."

This new demographic will benefit the NHL’s Nashville Predators in TSU’s backyard. A partnership between the organization and the program culminated in Black History Nights to scholarship events.

Already benefitting the Nashville Predators was Black hockey player P.K. Subban, who spent three years in Nashville, becoming a three-time all-star. He was an inspiration for little Black boys and the NHL, which still has very few minority players.

Black players in the NHL have been few and far between but has dated back to the late 19th century. Herb Carnegie was the first Black ice hockey star during the Great Depression. But Willi O’Ree broke the NHL’s Black color barrier as a member of the Boston Bruins in 1958.

Hockey in general hasn’t had that many Black players in its history. The sport is on the expensive side, which may veer Black parents in guiding their kids in other sports directions. Right now, there are 34 active Black players, according to

Some noteworthy Black players include K’Andre Miller, Kyle Okposo, Evander Kane, among others. These exceptional Black players have made significant contributions to the game, garnering popularity among fans.

According to USA Today, white players still make up 97% of the sport. The 3% comprises players from different ethnic backgrounds.

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1 Comment

Jose Miller
Jose Miller
Jun 30, 2023


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