Kennesaw State University
The Kennesaw State University Ice Owls were organized in 2001 and fielded their first team in the 2002-03 season. Their home rink, the Kennesaw Ice Forum, was located adjacent to the campus, which led to increased student interest in the new team. After three seasons, the team attracted enough attention nationally that the team was invited to move up to NCAA Division I varsity status by the College Hockey USA Conference. KSU Athletic Director Dr. Dave Waples declined the invitation, stating the main financial sticking points to adding hockey were the costs of KSU's move to Division I and the Atlantic Sun Conference in all its other sports programs, plus the required addition of other sports programs over the next two years.
In their fifth season, the team captured the 2007 ACHA Division III National Championship, going 22-7 for the season. After being upgraded to the more competitive Division II, the Owls reached the ACHA Nationals two times in the next three seasons, posting regional tournament wins in the 2009 playoffs over highly ranked teams such as Miami of Ohio and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Recruiting players from northern states and Canada led to the team's on-ice success.
The program received a black eye after finishing their 2012-13 season with a 24-4-0-2 record. While attending the 2013 ACHA National Championships in Springfield, Missouri, several players obtained alcohol and inflicted damage to the hotel following the team’s heartbreaking overtime loss to Davenport University. In a statement made by KSU’s Club Sports Director Laura St. Onge, “for most of the week they had been on their best behavior, but upon losing in the overtime game to go on or out of pool play, they decided that perhaps it was a good idea to go purchase some alcohol and get way out of control and trash hotel rooms. That’s not part of our code of conduct or acceptable behavior.”
The incident reportedly first came to the attention of St. Onge when the KSU President’s Office was contacted by the hotel to report damages inflicted by the team. As a result of the failure of the coaching staff to report the incident, long time head coach Bill Morrison, coach and former Atlanta Thrasher Barry Dreger, and former player Jerry Holden were all dismissed from the team. In addition, all ice hockey club activities were suspended for the 2013-14 academic year.
With a new set of coaches and only six players returning, the team added over fifteen new players for the 2014-15 season. The coaching staff included two alumni who were part of the 2007 National Championship team. 13-6-1. The Ice Owls went back on the ice for their opening weekend on September 19-20 versus Ole Miss, tying the Rebels 6-6 on Friday and beating them 5-2 on Saturday. The team dedicated the games to former teammate Scott Frenzel, who tragically passed away in his sleep during the offseason. The team went 13-6-1 for the season.
On October 21, 2017, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners gave unanimous approval for a 195-unit apartment complex to be built on the site of the Kennesaw Ice Forum. Ice Forum officials announced that the facility would remain open through the end of the 2017-18 season, at which time a new facility will be completed in Woodstock. Amy Kuuskoski, the senior coordinator of club sports at KSU, sees more positive than negative in the move. “It will take some time to adjust, and there are certainly nostalgic ties to the old Ice Forum facility that we are sad to lose. However, in the long run, the team will benefit from the new space.” It is unclear how the relocation will impact attendance, as the proximity to campus certainly is a factor. Kuuskoski believes the new facility will also offer recruiting benefits when the team is talking with potential athletes.
The Owls began play in 2018-19 using the Marietta Ice Center as their home rink. They finished the season with a 18-7-3 record and the fifth seed for the ACHA Men's Division III Regionals in Huntsville.
KSU joined the SECHC for 2019-20, and entered into an agreement to play their home games at the new Atlanta Ice House located just east of I-575.
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