Game on for University of Delaware Club Sports!
Through the historic challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Delaware has begun executing plans for shortened seasons for its NCAA sports teams. While we appreciate this decision to support the more than 600 student-athletes at the NCAA-level, the University has unfortunately provided no direction to the members of the 36 club sports teams on campus.
As members, alumni, and supporters of the University of Delaware Hockey club, we believe that the privilege of playing hockey or any other club sport at UD, creates a unique, positive experience that forever impacts careers and lives. Like their NCAA-athlete peers, the members of this team have dedicated their lives to a sport, so much so that they have chosen to continue playing at an added cost to tuition, housing, and other student-related expenses. We desperately want to preserve the special experience for the current club sport student-athletes, and especially those Seniors in their final year of undergraduate study.
With the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) rescheduling its National Tournament to April 15-25, the Blue Hens D1 hockey club still has an opportunity to compete for a Championship should it resume play in early-2021. To qualify, the team is required to play at least 12 regular season games prior to March 26-27. Play MUST resume by the weekend of February 5-7 to provide enough time for completion of 12 contests with ACHA D1 opponents.
Academically, UD plans to return 4,000 students to campus housing starting in mid-February and to host roughly 40 percent of classes in-person. Additionally, the UD Ice Arenas have already resumed limited operations with three hockey sessions a week along with figure skating.
It is therefore our request that UD Athletics and Recreation Services immediately implement a formal "return to play" plan for its club sports teams. As the official alumni affinity group for the D1 hockey club, we, the University of Delaware Hockey Alumni Association request this plan be established and executed on a timeline that enables the D1 ACHA hockey team to begin practicing in January and to resume competition by Saturday, February 6, thus enabling completion of 12 games and possible qualification for the ACHA National Tournament.
We appreciate the efforts of the Athletics department to ensure club sport athletes are provided with a meaningful and safe return. However, this delay and disruption has forced some students to defer enrollment. This adversely affects the ability of students, alumni, and other supporters to raise funds and procure gifts on behalf of the program. Not only will current students lose the opportunity to play, but the University will also potentially lose student-athletes that could contribute to the development, growth, and success of the school and its community. Expeditious return to play is critical for preserving Delaware's status as a notable hockey destination for current and prospective students.
Please sign on to support our petition for a return to play program for all club sports.