After years of play as an emerging powerhouse at the ACHA D3 level, the Frozen Tide joined the ACHA upper division in 2015-2016, taking its first steps to possibly joining the NCAA ranks.
In 2016, Alabama’s second season in D1 was far more competitive than many expected. First-year, energetic head man, John Bierchen, flipped the offensive switch on a squad that played some exciting hockey. The Tide went 19-14-2 in his maiden campaign behind the bench while setting several records. The Tide won a program-best nine Division-I games. ‘Bama also recorded its second-highest totals in both goals and assists in program history.
The Tide can compete at this level, and has the potential to become a very good program in the ACHA’s upper division when and if the defense and netminding shore up just a little. Still, this transition was expected. What no one expected was how fast the club would become a winning team. Not too shabby following the departure of Alabama Hockey architect Mike Quenneville’s retirement.
Not resting on its laurels, the Frozen Tide have tackled an even more ambitious schedule in 2017-2018. The Frozen Tide’s 36-game schedule features 34 games against D1 programs. Last season, Alabama went 5-4-1 against D1 clubs it also faces in 2017-2018 (Canissius, John Carroll, Liberty, Oklahoma, and old ACHA D3 nemesis Arkansas.)
The puck drops Sept. 1 as the Tide face the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. Thereafter, Alabama’s 36-game full schedule features 11 weekend series on their Pelham Civic Complex home ice.
[Alabama faces] seven teams the program has never played before it Duquesne, Indiana, Midland, Mercyhurst, Rutgers, Saint Bonaventure and Utah. Those opponents also mark the team’s first ever trips to the states of Nebraska (Midland) and Utah. Oklahoma appears on the schedule for the third straight year, making them the only team Alabama has faced in each of its Division-I campaigns. The full schedule can be found here.
If you want to help the guys out, any spare change is welcome for an expensive sport that has not only gained traction on campus but, as you’ve seen the past several months in Nashville, has taken the South by storm as well. And, of course, with 11 weekend series, there’s always time to catch a hockey game and support the Tide. If you’ve experienced live hockey before, you need no introduction. And, if you’ve never been, one game is all you need to fall in love.
Roll Frozen Tide.