Tennessee State University is set to become the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to have a school hockey team, according to ESPN. The Nashville-based HBCU will establish its hockey program in partnership with the Nashville Predators, the NHL, and NHLPA.

TSU will also be the first university in Tennessee to have an NCAA ice hockey program

None of the 107 HBCUs across the U.S. currently have an organized ice hockey team. TSU, a member of the NCAA’s Division-I Ohio Valley Conference announced its new ice hockey program last night at the Predators’ Bridgestone Arena.

Tennessee State launched a feasibility study in 2021 to determine if the school could support men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. In January, TSU received $250 million in state funding for campus infrastructure upgrades. 

Earlier this week, the NHL and NHLPA formed the NHL Player Inclusion Coalition to commit $1 million towards programs supporting diversity in hockey. The group is co-chaired by retired NHL star P.K. Subban and includes 20 current and former pro men and women hockey players. 

Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Neko Sparks was a recent finalist to buy the Ottawa Senators, which, if successful, would have made him the first Black managing owner of an NHL team.

The Senators were instead sold this month for nearly $1 billion to Montreal Canadiens part-owner Michael Andlauer.