Every Arizona State hockey fan, supporter, ticket holder and booster are ecstatic with news breaking Tuesday that Arizona State will support NCAA Division I beginning next season.
But they're not the only ones. The players are a little excited, too.
"It really is a dream come true," said sophomore forward Michael Cummings.
Every hockey player with collegiate dreams wants to play in the NCAA. Not to slight the ACHA, but players have dreams of playing for Minnesota or North Dakota or Boston College. Now that Arizona State is added to that list, the current Sun Devils couldn't be more thrilled.
"There's some guys that never have the opportunity to even talk to D1 schools," Cummings said. "Now that our program is going D1, this is the best opportunity any of us could ever ask for."
It's not just the American kids. Sophomore forward Ryan Ostertag is from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, but still wanted to play collegiately in the US. He came to Arizona State like everyone else- unaware was to happen in two short years.
"I didn't even ever talk about playing in the NHL, it was just always my goal to be in the states and be apart of an NCAA Division I program," Ostertag said. "And now I'm proud to say I actually am part of one. It's one of my biggest dreams come true."
Of the current Sun Devil squad, only two - forwards Liam Norris and Faiz Khan - are seniors. The rest get at least a year on the NCAA team. Norris called it a "a little bit of a bittersweet moment," but said he was thrilled for the team that will see it through.
Norris is an assistant captain and currently leads the team in points. He played on the first line last season for the team that won it all, which was arguably the biggest catalyst to making this happen.
The sophomores in particular may have come in at a perfect time. In their freshmen year, they won the ACHA national championship and as sophomores get the news
"Winning the national championship was the highlight of my hockey career, now this too," Ostertag said. "The timing has been unbelievable and I'm so glad to be a Sun Devil.
Arizona State is the first Power Five conference school to add NCAA Division I hockey since Penn State in 2012. Penn State played the 2011-12 season in the ACHA, losing in the national tournament. The Sun Devils have a chance to do what the Nittany Lions couldn't: leave the ACHA with the Murdoch Cup, and never have to defend it.
"We have some unfinished business in the ACHA," Ostertag said. "That's our goal: to go out with two titles, back-to-back and undefeated as a Sun Devil."
Added Norris: "That would be pretty epic."