Huntsville, Alabama – Alumni, UAH hockey, and college hockey supporters locally and around the world successfully raised the funds needed to reinstate the University of Alabama Huntsville NCAA Division I hockey program. $870,022 was raised in four days – exceeding the goal by $120,000. Sheldon Wolitski, Taso Sofikitis, and current NHL goaltender Cam Talbot (all UAH Hockey alumni and the program’s key boosters) want to thank UAH President Dr. Darren Dawson for the opportunity to keep the UAH hockey program alive, and Ron Gray and the entire UA Board of Trustees for their guidance/support throughout this process. Additionally, they look forward to working alongside UAH Athletic Director Dr. Cade Smith to build a consistent and competitive DI hockey program that will bring national and international notoriety to the university.
“Securing the funding is the first step. We know there is more work ahead, and we are committed to creating a strategic plan to ensure the long-term success of the program,” says Wolitski. Wolitski and Sofikitis plan to look at the structure that was put into place between UAB and its alumni to save and transform the UAB football program as a point of reference.
Wolitski, Sofikitis, and other key advisors look forward to earning an opportunity to discuss UAH’sconference potential for the 2021-2022 season.
Funds were raised via a Go Fund Me Campaign and t-shirt campaign. As of 6:30 AM CT on 05/30, the Go Fund Me Campaign has raised $537,220 and $32,802 from the t-shirt campaign. UAH Hockey Alumni donated an estimated $255,000 of that total.
Separate from the Go Fund Me Campaign, both Wolitski and Sofikitis contributed $125,000 each. Combined, UAH Hockey Alumni contributed an estimated $505,000 to save the program. 65% of the UAH hockey player alumni donated to the campaign as well as many former student-athletes’ parents, siblings, children, and family members. A special thank you to Derek Puppa, a UAH Hockey alumni, for his $20,000 donation and to an anonymous donor of $50,000 (separate from the Go Fund Me campaign) in honor of Fred Hudson – a pioneer of youth hockey in Huntsville.
We would also like to thank Joe Ritch, the founder and first coach of the UAH Chargers Hockey team who built the very program that we fought for this week.
What started out as a grassroots effort to save our home team went beyond anything we could have imagined. The support we have received from the hockey community across the world has been nothing short of amazing. We did the unimaginable – TOGETHER AS A TEAM. And it’s as a team that we will move forward with the future of UAH Hockey.