MILWAUKEE — For the second time in less than a week, the MCHA is announcing expansion of the league.
Adrian College, which announced in late September that it will add men’s and women’s D-III hockey in the 2007-08 season, was unanimously approved today to join the MCHA for next season.
The conference added Concordia University, Wisconsin to league on Oct. 23. Concordia will also begin play in the conference next season.
“This was a unanimous decision that was made by our members,” MCHA commissioner Terry Brand said. “The addition of Adrian College to the MCHA is a big step forward and allows us to take greater control of our own destiny. Now that we have eight members — seven of which are NCAA DIII programs — we can start a process to apply to the NCAA for conference recognition and hopefully an automatic qualifying bid someday soon for postseason national tournament play.”
“We are very excited and accept the opportunity to be a part of a very challenging conference. To see the expansion of ice hockey at the NCAA Division III level is great. The MCHA is showing great initiative, accepting both Adrian and Concordia University this fall,” said Ron Fogarty, who was named Adrian’s first head coach earlier in the day.
Adrian College athletic director Mike Duffy said, “Other than the day that we dedicate the ice arena, I cannot imagine a bigger day for Adrian College men’s ice hockey. We landed a head coach from a Division I university this morning, and have been accepted into one of the premier college hockey conferences this afternoon.”
The MCHA began its ninth season of play Tuesday night. Four of the six current members — Lawrence, Marian, MSOE and Northland — have been in the league since its creation prior to the 1998-1999 season. Minnesota-Crookston was added the following season with Finlandia University joining for the 2004-05 campaign.
“It’s always a great day for hockey when new teams are formed,” Brand said. “My hope is that even more schools will now consider hockey in both the Illinois and Michigan area.”