Arizona State officially applied for membership to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference earlier this summer according to a letter obtained by the Grand Forks Herald.
ASU athletic director Ray Anderson expressed in the two-page letter to NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton the program’s desire to enter the league in 2018-2019 and offered details about plans to improve facilities and staff.
“Arizona State’s commitment to the success of the program, both financially and competitively,” Anderson wrote in the letter, “is unequivocal, as we continue to bolster our hockey staff, renovate our current facilities, begin the planning phases for the construction of a new facility, and operate a first-class program top to bottom.”
Anderson also wrote about the administration’s plans to have an arena by the start of the 2018-2019 season to help turn the program into a revenue-generating sport.
It was reported in April that ASU was close to completing a deal to join the NCHC, but Fenton denied the reports. In July, Minnesota State Mankato announced it had applied to join the NCHC and would continue to explore conference affiliation outside of the WCHA.
ASU played its first year of Division 1 hockey last season after receiving a $32 million gift and will play its first full Division 1 schedule this season.
The Sun Devils committed to paying the NCHC's $20,000 application fee within 90 days from the June 10, 2016, dated letter. The remaining $500,000 new member fee would be paid over five years beginning December 2017.
“The national recognition of our brand and the attention of adding a men’s sport like hockey will only serve to elevate the profile of the NCHC,” Anderson concluded in the letter. “We are looking to become the best, and that starts with playing the best competition night in and night out. We believe we can become an elite program competing against the high level of competition within the conference.”