Structural change afoot for Arkansas Hockey

Photo credit: Edward Matthews

The University of Arkansas Men’s Ice Hockey program is excited to announce several changes for the upcoming 2018-19 season.  First, both teams will make a structural move from University Recreation to Student Affairs.

Historically, the program existed as a “Club Sport” through University Recreation.  Clubs are regulated by university policy but are also self-administered, meaning club members traditionally manage the team.  While this model worked for many years, over time, the men’s hockey program grew into two teams, 60 players, 8 coaches, an athletic trainer, two graduate assistants, and a 5-person student board.  This growth demonstrates the strength of the program, but also created challenges under the traditional club sport structure.

Accordingly, after eleven successful years with UREC, the program is excited to move across campus to the Division of Student Affairs, led by Vice Chancellor Charles Robinson.  Razorback Hockey will become the first member of “Club Sports Advance,” which is housed under Student Affairs.  Doing so will shift team management, external relations, budgeting, and resources to the Student Affairs office.  The team is extremely grateful to the staff at UREC who not only supported the team for eleven years but also made this next step possible.

The move to Club Sports Advance also creates the opportunity to expand the team’s leadership.  To facilitate that growth, Division I Head Coach Brian Gallini will step down from his longtime role as head coach and transition into a new program-wide oversight position.  In that new role, Coach Gallini will advise the Division I & III coaching staffs, assist the program through its transition to Student Affairs, mentor student-athletes, and provide overall stability and continuity to the program.

In his nine years with the program, Coach Gallini’s teams (both at Division I and III) won five SECHC Championships and five top ten South/Pacific Region finishes, took three trips to Division III Nationals, achieved the highest finish for any team in ACHA history in its first DI season after moving from DIII, and amassed an overall 186-92-8 record.  Coach Gallini has served the program for nearly a decade while simultaneously serving as Associate Dean and Professor of Law at the School of Law.  In 2017, he was named SEC faculty of the year for the University of Arkansas campus.

Said Coach Gallini, “It’s hard to capture in a few words just how big our program has become since 2007.  I want to thank my players and fellow coaches for believing in our brand of hockey these past several seasons.  Our program is indebted to the College of Education and Health Professions and University Recreation for their support and leadership of Razorback Hockey.  We are also thankful to Chancellor Steinmetz and Dr. Robinson for believing in our vision for the growth and success of the hockey program here at the University of Arkansas.”

The program is excited about the future of Razorback Hockey.  A search for a new Division I Head Coach will begin immediately.