BYU Responds To Dropping Affiliation With Club Hockey Team

Sep 21, 2021, 10:03 AM | Updated: 10:04 am
byu hockey...
Photo courtesy: BYU Hockey

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As most of the hockey teams in the Salt Lake area are preparing for the upcoming season, the BYU club team is preparing for their last.

Brigham Young University announced it would not be renewing the contract that allowed the hockey club to be affiliated with BYU.

“They would not discuss their decision with us in any detail,” BYU coach Dave Pitcher told KSL Sports.

The team has a history as far back as the 70s and had joined the ACHA (American College Hockey Association) in 1994. The current contract dates back 15 years. The team has had no issues with code compliance and does not cost the university any money since it isn’t an officially funded sport.

“The university has never sponsored the team. We have had to be self-sustaining financially and with personnel. The Ice Cat Hockey board has the responsibility to govern and manage the team under the oversite of the office of extra-mural sports. The contract grants official recognition by the school and the use of its name, trademarks, allowing the team to compete in the ACHA,” Pitcher explained.

KSL reached out to BYU and was given this response:

“After careful consideration, BYU has determined not to allow the Provo IceCats hockey program to use the name and mark of the university, beginning in May 2022. The program was never sponsored by the university, nor has it been a part of BYU Athletics or the Student Life extramural program. BYU appreciates the understanding that has been shown by the IceCats organization of this decision, which was based upon several concerns, including Title IX constraints and organizational matters.”

The IceCats started a petition on their Facebook page. After a week, the petition had almost 3,000 signatures on it.

“The hockey team had everything to do with my decision to try and get into BYU. I wanted to be a part of not only a hockey team, but a brotherhood,” former player Janson Eisenstat told KSL Sports. “BYU is making a huge mistake in dropping their hockey team. It has brought so much good to the people involved and beyond that. Whether that was through the community service projects we do or through tough games where you learn how to push through it.”

Not everyone sees this as a bad thing though.

A former player that preferred we not use his name told KSL Sports, “The school dropping the team has been a long time coming. It’s been discussed pretty much my entire time at playing for BYU. The hockey team as it currently exists is very different from the other clubs at the school and I think its current agreement to use BYU’s name while operating as its own independent business is likely unpopular with the athletic department. I think the team is definitely done for right now, petitions or protests won’t save it. But I hope this opens up the door for a few years down the line for players at the school to approach the athletic department to create a team that is an official club with the school, with oversight from the athletic department, access to campus facilities and resources, without a dysfunctional and controversial board and coaching staff of parents and family members. There could be a real opportunity in the future to make this program into something that works better and doesn’t exist with so much ambiguity like the team has existed since its creation.”

Without the affiliation of the school, the ACHA will not allow the team to play next season.

Utah Puck Report is a podcast all about Utah hockey, from interviews with NHL stars to which Grizzlies players are about to take the next step, Utah Puck Report has everything for a Utah hockey fan. Find it wherever you find podcasts or on KSLSports.com. The show is hosted by KSL Sports’ hockey insider, Jay Stevens.

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