The American Women’s College Hockey Alliance National Championship — the first such championship in women’s ice hockey — was announced today at a joint USA Hockey, ECAC and Hockey East press conference.
Two semifinal games will be held on Friday, March 20, at a campus site to be announced. The championship game will be played the following day at Boston’s FleetCenter prior to the Hockey East championship game. A single ticket will admit fans for both games.
The participating teams will come from the ECAC Women’s Hockey League, the nation’s first intercollegiate ice hockey league for women, and from varsity programs in the Midwest. The championship results from a grant designed by the United States Olympic Committee and the NCAA.
“We are pleased to help showcase the best teams in women’s college ice hockey through this championship,” said Dave Ogrean, USA Hockey Executive Director. “This event, coming on the heels of the first Olympic medal competition for women’s ice hockey in Nagano and the creation of The Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award by the USA Hockey Foundation [presented annually to the most outstanding women's player] caps a benchmark year for the growth of girls’ and women’s ice hockey in the United States.”
Hockey East was able to propose the pairing of the AWCHA Championship with its own tournament after league athletic directors voted to do away with its men’s consolation game this year.
“We are excited to be part of this evening of championships,” said Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna. “From my years with the ECAC, I developed a strong affinity for the women’s game. This pairing will give New England hockey fans a special and historic evening to remember.”
The championship game will be limited to a single overtime and a shootout to ensure that the Hockey East game remains close to schedule.