A sixth NCAA Division I college hockey conference has been formed, as College Hockey America joins the CCHA, the ECAC, Hockey East, the MAAC and the WCHA with a full schedule in the 1999-2000 season.
The charter members of the CHA are Army, Air Force, Alabama-Huntsville, Bemidji State, Findlay, Niagara and Wayne State. Wayne State, in Detroit, is launching a college hockey program this fall, and thus will not play a full league schedule until the 2000-2001 season.
“Hockey at all levels is experiencing unprecedented growth and popularity,” said Bob Peters, Director of Athletics and head coach at Bemidji State. “The advent of College Hockey America is a monumental and historic event evidencing this growth at the collegiate level.”
The CHA will conduct a postseason championship tournament to be held in Huntsville, Ala. on March 10-11, 2000. Besides applying to the NCAA for Division I status, the CHA will be asking for an automatic bid to the NCAA postseason tournament beginning in 2000-2001.
“We are tremendously excited about this new conference and we are thrilled to be a partner in another positive step forward for college hockey,” said Col. Randall Spetman, Director of Athletics at Air Force. “The formation of College Hockey America will give our student athletes an opportunity to compete at the top level and eventually in the national tournament. And that’s what it’s all about.”