It was recently announced that a new collegiate-level hockey conference would be formed for the start of the 2016-2017 season and the Red Raiders will once again be playing the "coolest sport on earth". The Texas Collegiate Hockey Conference will be a 2-division, 8-team conference based completely in the great state of Texas.
The Red Raiders have had trouble in recent years establishing an ice hockey team ever since the Cotton Kings of the Central Hockey League suspended operations in 2007 after failing to reach an agreement with the city of Lubbock. Without the Cotton Kings at the City Bank Coliseum, the only group to sign a lease for a rink was the Tech hockey team and it could not be done. There is currently no ice rink in the city of Lubbock, the largest city in the United States without a rink. Without a rink, it is incredibly difficult to practice, and the nearest rink is in Odessa. The team is not a sanctioned sport by the University, but they are represent the Red Raiders in an official capacity against other schools.
The new conference will involve some current Big 12 teams as well as other familiar foes in the state. In the north division along with the Red Raiders will be TCU, UNT, and DBU. The southern division is made up of UT, Texas State, UTEP, and those Aggies of College Station. Tech will still have to travel to Odessa for any kind of practice and their home games will be there as well, but Red Raider fans in DFW will have a great chance to watch them play. North Texas and DBU play their games in Farmers Branch, TCU plays in North Richland Hills, and non-conference opponent SMU plays in Richardson. The official page of the team on Facebook has great information on the schedule and will provide updates on the season this fall.
The TCHC also announced that all games will be streamed online through a new media group they are partnering with, so the games can be watched (for a price). The sport of hockey has grown in the south in the past 15 years and it's wonderful to see the Red Raiders become involved.