On Tuesday afternoon the UNLV Rebels made major sports announcement and it was about a sport that most people probably didn’t even know was played at UNLV. Ice Hockey.
For Immediate Release: @achamensd1 Approves University of Nevada - Las Vegas to Men's Division 1.— UNLV Rebel Hockey (@UNLVRebelHockey) November 29, 2016
Beginning in the 2017-2018 season. #UNLV pic.twitter.com/IYkHMFy58j
That’s right, the Division II Skatin’ Rebels will be elevated to the Division I level for the 2017-2018 season.
This move was hoped to be one of the benefits of Las Vegas getting an NHL expansion team, but there were still a number of hurdles the team had to clear before they could even attempt to make the jump, with the most major of those being money and Title IX (discussed here).
Both of those hurdles were cleared.
On the women’s side, lacrosse will be added as a Division I sport and on the money front, more than $15 million dollars was raised, enough to fund five seasons, which is required by Title IX.
The soon to be D-I Rebels are currently the third ranked team in the West Region this season, with a record of 12 wins and 3 losses. They will be one of three teams to make the jump to Division I next year, with the other two being New York University and Calvin College. This will increase the number of teams competing at that level to 62.
For those of you looking to familiarize yourself with the team, here’s the team’s website.
It’s an exciting time to be a hockey fan in Las Vegas.