Long Island University adding Division I men's hockey team

Long Island University is adding a Division I men's hockey team, the school announced Thursday.

LIU expects to begin play in the 2020-21 season, and a search for a head coach will begin immediately.

"We are thrilled to be adding men's ice hockey to the sport opportunities for our student-athletes," athletic director Dr. William E. Martinov Jr. said in a statement. "NCAA Division I men's hockey is one of the most exciting sports out there, and we are pleased to be able to provide another opportunity for young hockey players nationwide. Coach Rob Morgan and his women's ice hockey team proved this season that there is a real hunger for a chance to play hockey on Long Island, and winning a championship in their first season has been a great experience for our entire Shark family. We look forward to the same success for our men's team, competing in the classroom and on the ice, representing LIU as truly exceptional student-athletes."

It's unclear where the men's team will play, but this past season the LIU women's team -- which debuted in the 2019-20 season -- split home games between Iceworks in Syosset, New York, and the Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow, New York.

There are currently 60 Division I men's hockey programs. Arizona State had been the most recent addition, joining the Division I ranks in 2016 -- and it reached the NCAA tournament in 2019. The Sun Devils are preceded by Penn State, which became a Division I program in 2012 and made the NCAA tournament in 2017 and '18.

The University of Illinois has been working to build a Division I team. Last month, Illini athletic director Josh Whitman said the program was "in the red zone" and "getting closer to the goal line." An official announcement has been put on pause because of the coronavirus pandemic.