With the Frozen Four taking place this last weekend there was much talk about three of the four schools being from Minnesota. That’s an important conversation. Minnesota is the number one home state (by a significant margin) represented on Division I college hockey rosters and is home to five division I men’s hockey programs. Next season, St. Thomas University will make the jump to Division I and increase that number to six men’s programs. This is exciting news for hockey players and fans everywhere, but it also got me thinking (again) about the lack of a Division I hockey program in Illinois.

We had the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames for a time. I have fond memories of attending those games at the UIC pavilion and cheering on the home team, and also seeing some of the top visiting college teams and players of that era (the feared Lake Superior State University Lakers!!!). Over time many of the players and coaches from UIC have stayed on and strengthened the hockey community in this area. But it has been a while since we’ve had our own home team. The last season UIC competed in Men’s Hockey at the Division I level was 1995-96. Most kids today would have no idea that Chicago was home to a Central Collegiate Hockey Association team. That’s a shame and a missed opportunity.