Once upon a time (May), I was at the Thrashers select-a-seat (the last time I would ever see the arena, as it were, but I didn’t know that then of course) and the guy who showed me around all of the arena, and I do mean all of it, told me that my alma mater Georgia State was preparing to get a hockey team. They were playing on the club level as the Infernos, he explained, but were trying to become an official arm of Georgia State, which requires a lot of paperwork and such. Over the summer, I began to follow their social media outlets and eventually they teased of a name and logo change. Et voila, the Georgia State Panthers were born.
The Panthers will compete in Division 3 of the ACHA, the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The ACHA is an alternative to the NCAA, one suited for smaller programs and ones that may run into problems with Title IX. It has five divisions–three for men and two for women–and more than 400 teams! There are ACHA teams in every state but Hawaii.
In Division 3, there are 140 teams in 10 different conferences plus independent teams. Since the Panthers are so new, I’m not sure which conference they will be in, but I presume the Southeastern Collegiate conference, which is headquartered right here in Atlanta and features teams like University of Georgia, Auburn, Vanderbilt and Louisiana State. Those are all SEC bigwigs, though, while GSU is in the Colonial Athletic Association for other sports, so I’m not sure. We’ll see!
As I said, the Panthers are still getting up off the ground. They will scrimmage against Kennesaw State University (my mom’s alma mater for her Master’s…awkward!) tomorrow night at the Marietta Ice Center. You better bet I’m going to be there! I’ll write up a report about it afterward. I’m happy to get a chance to use my nifty new camera.
The Panthers can use your love and support, even if you don’t live in Atlanta. Here is their Facebook page (which both Krista and I like). Follow them on Twitter! Check out their brand-new swag of all kinds, from shirts to hoodies and even iPod and iPad cases, on this Zazzle page. 20 percent of the costs go to helping them with their expenses.
Good luck, Panthers! Make this alumna proud!