UK hockey team headed to national championships

The University of Kentucky Hockey Club is headed to the national championships.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 9:53 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - One University of Kentucky club sport is heading to the national championship. But it wasn’t without meeting a hefty monetary goal to get there.

The last time UK Hockey made it to a National Championship was in 2008. Coach Tim Pergram says he’s spent the past five years trying to change that.

“They all bought in. It was trust,” said Pergram. “They trusted in each other, in the brotherhood. They play for each other. As a coach, I can only tell them what to do. They have to have buy in. And they’ve done it on the ice.”

And this team had their winningest season yet. 29-6. Enough to score them a coveted spot to play against 16 teams from across the country at this week’s National Championship in Boston.

“When we have games here, it’s a sellout within the first 15 minutes. This is a 40-year-old program that’s been very, very successful. Yes, it’s been 15 years since we’ve been at Nationals, but we’re back now. And we don’t plan on leaving for quite a while,” Pergram said.

The only thing standing in their way is the $80,000 they need to raise to get there.

As a club sport, UK Hockey is self-funded. So when they were in their biggest pinch yet, the team created a Gofundme and started fundraising on February 27.

In just two weeks, they did it. The team says it’s all thanks to Big Blue Nation.

“We trusted our fans, the community, to get behind us, and they did. We’re very thankful for that,” said forward Gary Eastlack.

The team leaves for Boston early Wednesday morning.

The championship is from March 17 through March 21