Augustana to launch Division I hockey program

Augustana Vikings Athletics
Augustana Vikings Athletics(Dakota News Now)
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 12:00 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Augustana University in Sioux Falls has announced plans to launch a hockey program that will compete at the NCAA Division I level.

The move is part of the Viking Bold: Journey to 2030, according to an Augustana spokesperson. The plan includes an effort to provide student-athletes the opportunity to compete at a higher level and elevate the university’s profile.

The addition of a Division I hockey program will be the first of its kind in the state, according to the university. It will make Augustana one of just over 60 schools in the country offering Division I men’s hockey.

Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford provided the “lead” gift to make the program possible, but university officials would not provide any details on the size of the gift or the specifics of what it will be spent on.

The university plans to share more information later this summer or early fall as more details for the new athletics program are finalized.

Back in 2018, Augustana announced plans to move its entire athletic program up to NCAA Division I. However, those plans hit a roadblock in May of 2020 when the Summit League, which the Vikings hoped to join, said they are not “imminently” extending more invitations to join the league. Despite the setback, the university has moved forward with many improvements to its athletic programs, including new turf at the Kirkeby-Over Stadium.

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