The Northeast-10 Conference announced that it will sponsor a postseason men’s Division II tournament in hockey beginning with the 2003-04 season.
Six of the seven NCAA Division II schools that play hockey are also members of the Northeast-10, a Division II multi-sport conference. The six are: Assumption, Franklin Pierce, St. Anselm, St. Michael’s, Southern New Hampshire and Stonehill.
The seventh Division II school is Minnesota-Crookston, a member of the MCHA in hockey.
According to Northeast-10 commissioner David Brunk, the new arrangement will not interfere with the schools’ traditional conference alignments. St. Anselm and St. Michael’s compete in the ECAC East, while the other four are in the ECAC Northeast.
The recent addition of Franklin Pierce as a varsity program enabled the NE-10 to make the move, in keeping with the NCAA minimum whereby a conference must have six members to sponsor a championship.
The ECAC East and Northeast are comprised mainly of Division III schools, and their postseason tournaments do not include the Division II schools. In 1999-2000, the ECAC began holding a postseason tournament for the Division II schools, who are ineligible for NCAA tournament consideration since there is no NCAA event in Division II.
The NE-10 tournament replaces the ECAC II tournament and likewise will be held at the conclusion of the regular season. All six schools will participate. Seedings will be determined by regular-season records (each team will meet the other once), plus overall records and strength of schedule.
The NE-10 will also produce a weekly ice hockey report with honors and statistics, and it will introduce an All-Conference Team at the end of the regular season as voted upon by league coaches.
St. Michael’s claimed the 2003 ECAC Division II tournament title, its second straight, with a 2-1 overtime win over St. Anselm. St. Anselm won the championship in 2000 and 2001.
The NE-10 is comprised of 15 schools, four others of which compete in Division I in hockey. Massachusetts-Lowell and Merrimack are members of Hockey East, while American International and Bentley are in the MAAC.
The other five NE-10 schools — Bryant, Le Moyne, Pace, St. Rose, and Southern Connecticut — do not have varsity hockey programs.