Timeline of Events for RMU Hockey

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The Robert Morris men’s hockey team discusses a play during a game against Niagara Nov. 2, 2018. (David Auth/RMU Sentry Media) Photo credit: David Auth

MOON TOWNSHIP – Both RMU hockey teams had successful seasons in which the women’s team won the CHA tournament and men’s were the no. 1 ranked team in the Western Pod of the AHC.

On Wednesday, May 26th, Robert Morris University announced they would be discontinuing their hockey programs. In the statement, they said:

“Robert Morris University announced today it will no longer field NCAA Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey teams as part of a series of strategic initiatives intended to position the university to be amongst the most agile and professionally focused schools in the nation as it prepares for its upcoming 100th anniversary.” Many where wondering what this decision was made, the school tried to explain. The response from president Chris Howard stated “All these strategic initiatives, and everything we have accomplished over the past year, put us in a position of strength as we enter our second hundred years.”

Only five days later, on May 31st, Pittsburgh Steelers’ General Manager Kevin Colbert stepped down from his position on the RMU Board of Trustees. Many were wondering why Colbert did, and it later came out in a report the teams and coaches found out from President Chris Howard that they would be dispensed 10 minutes before the public. The board was not told until the decision was made.

The next day, after the report on June 1st, President Howard hosted a press conference. He said:

“Ice hockey has been our most expensive Division I sport due in part to low ticket sales and limited donations, as well as having little access to things like guaranteed game opportunities, conference revenue or television contract payouts”. In another question, President Howard answered if the teams could come back. “We considered several options for sustaining D-I ice hockey in the long term,” Howard said before adding “It would require $5 to $30 million in facility upgrades, with no guarantee of attracting the kind of corporate support needed to secure that investment.”

Former players, fans, alumni, and students are doing everything they can to try and save the teams. It is not yet clear if it can be done, but it does not seem like the backlash has stopped.