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Arkansas Hockey Making Move To Division I

Razorbacks making jump brings excitement, attention to hockey program

SPRINGDALE (KFSM) - Arkansas hockey may not be a sanctioned NCAA sport but when the puck drops to start the 2015-16 season they will be the next closest thing.

The Razorbacks club team is making the move to the Division I club level next season which means they'll be just one step away from becoming a NCAA team.

"It’s always been in reach for us but it hasn’t been a reality for us and I think this year we found it and we can definitely compete with those teams," junior forward Ryan Machos said.

"It’s something special to be a part of and it’s great to have the fan base growing like it is and the competition and everything getting as good as we are and hopefully will be," senior defenseman Easton Oliver added.

"The past couple years coach has been building the program up so it really is a big step for our entire team and I think we’re ready for it too," junior forward Michael Tallo said.

After seeing Arkansas dismantle McKendree University over the weekend by a combined score of 32-3 in a two game series, it's easy to see why Arkansas is making the leap from Division III to the highest level of club sports.

"For us to be the first SEC school to do that, it’s really a testament not just to the guys who came before us, to our staff, to our coaching staff, to the current players but it’s also a testament to Razorback nation and the fan base," Arkansas coach Brian Gallini said.

With the move up comes a major step up in talent. Arkansas already schedules a handful of Division I opponents but they know it's going to take far more consistency if they wish to continue the success they're enjoying currently.

"We can easily go in and play one of those (Division I) teams and play with them one night and the next night probably not play our best game but I think if we find our consistent game we can easily play with them," Machos said.

"More skill and talent in the (Division I) level," senior forward Forest Mudgett said. "I think, honestly, just keeping the game simple and playing your position, worrying about your job and letting your teammates take care of theirs and everything else should fall in place."

Arkansas is 19-8-2 heading into the final four game stretch of the regular season. Then the SEC playoffs will kick off.

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