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ACC Team in the Spotlight

12/05/2018, 1:45pm EST
By Sheriff

University of North Carolina

The University of North Carolina hockey program is one of the oldest of the ACC members dating back to 1973.  UNC was a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Club Hockey League in that same year and again a founding member of the current ACC Hockey League that formed in 1995.  As a result, the Tar Heels alumni number in the hundreds and are very supportive of the hockey program.

On the ice, UNC is tied with UVA for the most ACC Championship Tournament bids at 22.  The Tar Heels were the last original member to win an ACC Hockey Championship in 2015.  First year coach, Jeff Volkman (Saint Paul, Minnesota, '14-Present), led a talented team to three tournament championships that year, including the ACC Admiral's Cup.  From that championship team, four players, Forward and Captain Mike Auriemma (Brick, NJ '15), Forward Matt Gellatly (Raleigh, NC '15) , Forward A.J. Hamel (White River Junction, VT '17), and Goalie John Jackson (Durham, NC '15) joined Tim Ewald ('03) in the ACC Hockey Hall of Fame. 

The UNC Hockey program benefited from stability in the coaching positions with Head Coach Bud Johnson (Pittsburgh, PA) and Jeff Volkman (Saint Paul, Minnesota) as the only two head coaches for the Tar Heels in the past two decades.  Assistant Coach Earl Anderson (Pittsburgh, PA) for more than 20 years, was selected to the ACC Hockey Hall of Fame after his retirement in 2016.

Today, UNC plays several games each year in the PNC Arena (Carolina Hurricanes Arena) against NC State University and Duke University.  The past two years, the North Carolina Governor was in attendance for the games against NC State with what has become known as the Backyard Brawl for the Governor's Cup.  

Head Coach Jeff Volkman has not only brought his expertise of the game (Arizona State  Graduate) to the locker room, but also his business acumen, marketing experience, and his organizational skills to promote the UNC Hockey program to new levels both within the ACC and regionally with the coordination of other North Carolina ACC Hockey Coaches and staffs.  He is organizing the alumni though social media, promoting the program within the university, and just this year created a broadcasting group to televise the Tar Heel games.  Most importantly, Jeff not only teaches these young student-athletes how to be successful on the ice, but off ice and beyond the classroom, in life as well.

With UNC Hockey entering it's 45th season of collegiate hockey, the program has never been stronger, more organized or more successful.  The fans of ACC Hockey look forward to many more years of exciting hockey in Chapel Hill.

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