Outside of the Big Ten, Chris feels that a fertile ground for expansion of college hockey would be Lincoln, Nebraska and the Cornhuskers. And, on the surface, this makes perfect sense. Nebraska USHL teams in Kearney, Lincoln, and Omaha draw well. And let's face it, there isn't a Husker sport that doesn't have a decent fanbase. (Some people might consider men's basketball an exception, but history shows that hoops fans are likely just hibernating...)
Could the Huskers start a Division 1 hockey program? In the immediate future, the answer is no. The Memorial Stadium expansion project is going to eat up any and all resources for the forseeable future. But long term? I'd have to say the idea sounds very intriguing.
There are two existing roadblocks that immediately put Husker Hockey into the penalty box:
- No Arena with ice
- Title IX
Would Husker hockey steal fans from the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks? Perhaps some. However, Creighton certainly holds their own fanbase in sports; they even outdraw the Huskers in men's basketball. If anything, a Husker-Maverick rivalry might provide a natural rivalry for both programs and would attract new fans to both programs.
Personally, I don't see this happening for a little while longer. But deep down, I think this is a winning idea long term.
Update: Revisiting Husker Hockey.