KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A hockey team is probably not the first thing you think of when you hear the name Tennessee Vols. However, since 1966 UT has had a club hockey team and they are vying for a national title.
For the first time in a long time, the Tennessee Ice Vols have accomplished two things, making the College Hockey South Conference tournament but an even bigger accolade making it to the national tournament. There is still one thing standing in the team’s way, funding.
“Our goal is $18,000,” Team President Ben Northern said. “That will pay for our bus, hotel and food when we get up there and any donations help. We are completely self-funded, and most of what we cover comes from our dues that our players pay.”
Captain Drew King added that they really need extra help because they are going to nationals for the first time in 14 years.
“These guys give their all financially and physically on the ice and help from Vol Nation is always much appreciated,” King said.
The team got the call late last weekend following the conference tournament and the guys were more than excited to get that news.
“We’re just absolutely buzzing,” King said. Freshman Connor Frazer said that the team will have a great time on the long road trip from Knoxville to Philadelphia.
Established in 1966 the team has not always gotten a ton of recognition but now Tennessee Hockey merch can be found all over the community.
“I go to dinner or a comic book shop and I’ll have people recognize me or the jacket and know who we’re playing,” Head Coach Johnny Scotello said. “Three years ago you wouldn’t have heard that. People would usually say ‘Tennessee has a hockey team?’ and now they’re aware and rooting for us.”
The team enjoys seeing their gear worn around campus.
“They’re absolutely beautiful,” King said. “I love seeing our jersey’s out at basketball games and football games, that’s how we know we did a good job with the jerseys.”
Both Drew and Ben saying they will be opening up a team store to sell jerseys that will help fund their trip to West Chester, PA. The team also has a GoFundMe called “Tennessee Hockey travel fund for Nationals!” and they have raised more than $15,000.