The University of Illinois is getting an assist from the NHL and NHL Players' Association to evaluate the possibility of establishing men's and women's hockey teams.
Athletic director Josh Whitman says initial research revealed several factors suggesting that hockey could be popular on campus. He noted there remain unanswered questions including funding programs, facility needs and Title IX considerations.
Illinois sponsored hockey as a varsity sport from 1938-43.
Illinois became the first of what could be as many as five schools to receive assistance with the money the NHL and NHLPA have committed to support growing the U.S. college game.
Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula took part in the announcement after he donated $102 million to build an arena and establish hockey programs at his alma mater, Penn State.