Tennessee State University Announces 1st Hockey Player Signing

Tennessee State University Announces 1st Hockey Player Signing

Last year, history was made when Tennessee State University became the first historically black college or university (HBCU) to welcome men’s ice hockey at the collegiate level. The announcement took place before the 2023 NHL Draft on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. Now, the school has recently stated that it has its first commitment to the ice hockey team with transfer student Xavier Abel.

According to The Tennessean, Abel, a forward who will be transferring from Drury University was at a recent men’s basketball game against Tennessee Tech at Gentry Center. Last season, the incoming hockey player was the only Black player on Drury’s hockey team, which was in its inaugural season. He will go down in history as the first player at the school to score the first goal in the school’s existence. That record took place on Sept. 23, 2022. The transfer played in 34 games and had 12 goals and six assists for 18 points, plus 24 penalty minutes.

Abel has stated that he always wanted to play at an HBCU.

“The community and the culture at an HBCU is everlasting,” he told the media outlet. “The friends that you make here come with a lifetime bond and that is what attracted me. It was an experience that I just wanted to go through and now, not only do I get to go through it, but I get to do something historic while I’m at it.”

The school intends to start the inaugural season in 2024-25.

The incoming athlete is no stranger to organized play. He played with the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL), the second-tier development league in the country, with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Buffalo Stampede, and Las Vegas Thunderbirds.

“Once I saw on Twitter where TSU was starting a hockey team, I have wanted to be a part of it to help evolve the reputation of the sport,” Abel said. “Because as everyone knows it has always been a predominantly Caucasian sport and I bore the brunt of that in my career. I felt like this was the perfect opportunity for me to make an impact on the sport at this level in case I can’t make it as a professional.”

Abel has already stated that he is trying to encourage friends who play hockey to the new program at TSU in hopes that they will join him there.

Tennessee State University Announces 1st Hockey Player Signing

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