On Wednesday, the University of Alabama in Huntsville announced they will discontinue the men's hockey program.
This comes just one season after community members raised thousands of dollars for the program when the university announced last spring that they'd be discontinuing it due to challenges from the pandemic.
This time, the reason has to do with the program not being able to obtain a conference membership. One lifelong fan told WAAY 31 the news was heartbreaking to hear.
"My dad actually refereed hockey for UAH for, I mean, I think he started in the 80s, and he retired just a few years ago, so I just grew up always going to the games and watching my dad," Clay Martinson said.
Martinson may not have graduated from UAH, but any chance he got to see his favorite local hockey team, he would take advantage of it. Hearing the program was discontinued was sad news.
"I would always come back Christmas break when I was in college, and go and see a couple games, just know that all the memories and things that I experienced here will no longer be passed down to future generations, it's pretty sad," he said.
There is some hope for the future of the UAH hockey program. The UAH athletic director says they are continuing talks with different conferences in hopes that one will extend an invitation for them to join. If the team is able to secure conference membership in the future, they plan to re-instate the program, but that won't happen quickly.
"We've also been given every indication that if they were to extend an invitation for us to join their conference, it would not be next year, and they've been pretty clear about that," Smith said.
As uncertainty remains for the program, Martinson says the legacy the hockey team already has created is something that will remain no matter what the future holds.
"If you really look at the impact it's had on our community, I just think that's something that will last forever," he said.
Current players will be able to transfer and play for other teams.