From Tulsa World
By John Rittenoure
A unique hockey double header will hit the rink at the BOK Center on Saturday.
It all starts with Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State in the first Bedlam on Ice at 4 p.m. followed by the Tulsa Oilers and Wichita Thunder at 7:25. And one ticket is good for both games.
With that announcement lies one of the best-kept secrets to local sports fans. Club hockey is being played in Norman and Stillwater.
“We surprise a lot of people,” said OU Hockey General Manager Brad Bassett. “This is our 20th season and we play in the ACHA (American Collegiate Hockey Association) Division I.
“We are a club sport through the university, but we are held to NCAA standards.”
The ACHA has 250 men’s teams split between three divisions.
“We are part of the WCHL (Western Collegiate Hockey League) with 10 teams in the East and the West, and we are in the West division,” Bassett said. “Our Division I has 70 schools across the country.”
With OSU joining OU and the University of Central Oklahoma as the only collegiate hockey teams in Oklahoma, a bedlam matchup seemed like the natural thing to do.
“OSU is in their second year in ACHA Division II,” Bassett said. “In the offseason there was talk about why does football have all the fun with Bedlam. We wanted some of the action too. Why not play a Bedlam series on the ice?
“The Tulsa Oilers reached out to us and asked if we would consider playing one of our games there. We immediately jumped on it because we saw it as an opportunity to introduce OU and OSU hockey. We want everyone to know that there is collegiate hockey in Oklahoma.”
While the team is not playing under NCAA membership, the recruiting requirements are much the same.
“They are all students at OU and we follow NCAA eligibility guidelines,” explained Bassett. “They have to be enrolled, maintain a certain number of hours and GPA. The only difference is NCAA allows scholarships and ACHA doesn’t.”
Before the OU-OSU game, Tulsan and former ECHL linesman Chip Excell will be recognized.
“We are going to recognize and honor him at our pre-game puck drop ceremony,” Bassett said. “Back in May he was involved in a tragic motorcycle accident. He lost his lower leg. We want to recognize him for all he has done over the last two decades.”
(Originally published at https://tulsaworld.com/sports/college/osu/bedlam-hits-the-ice-as-ou-and-osu-face-off-saturday-at-bok-center-followed/article_55e9e214-5ba7-11ed-ab60-8fa4b2b57658.html)