College Hockey:
Connecticut jumping to Hockey East, to 18 scholarships for 2014-15 season

Connecticut will leave Atlantic Hockey and join Hockey East for the 2014-15 season, sources told USCHO on Wednesday.

Hockey East confirmed the move in a press release Thursday and filled in some details.

The Huskies will play league games at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. Their nonconference games will be at their on-campus arena, the Freitas Ice Forum, which also is expected to get improvements.

Connecticut also will start to offer the full 18 athletic scholarships allowed by NCAA rules. The Huskies currently do not offer athletic scholarships for men’s hockey; the school plans to add scholarships for women’s sports to comply with gender equity regulations.

Hockey East will play the 2013-14 season with 11 teams after the addition of Notre Dame, then become a 12-team league in 2014-15.

“This is one of the most historic and significant days in the history of our conference,” Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna said in a statement. “We have enjoyed a terrific relationship with the University of Connecticut for more than a decade through our involvement with its women’s hockey program. Today we start a new chapter in this relationship and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

Connecticut will hold a “Welcome To Hockey East” celebration and press conference on June 29 in the
atrium of the XL Center.

Among those scheduled to attend are Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford mayor Pedro Segarra, UConn president Susan Herbst, UConn athletic director Warde Manuel, Bertagna, XL Center senior vice president and GM Chuck Steedman, former UConn All-American and Hartford Whalers forward Todd Krygier and UConn head coach Bruce Marshall.

The event is free and open to the public.

Krygier and current Connecticut players will be available for autographs following the event.

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  • AntiNCHCfan

    Miami Redhawks are going to wish they took this twelfth spot long time ago when they were offered it.

    Hockey East would have fit Miami better then the NCHC.

    They will be knocking on the door soon. You heard it here first.

    • Chrisgal

      I’m with you. Said same after early May article…….

    • keithjevt

      Think you got that right. HE should have told Uconn 2013/14 or we will take someone else.

  • Blueline892910

    Hockey East didn’t need either Notre Dame or UConn.

  • JJ Jerryrum

    ok coming from an army fan here i have 2 questions…first and for most where does this leave atlantic hockey with 11 teams? maybe airforce leaves for the wcha or we get alabama huntsville or maybe we just stay at 11 teams who knos right now and secondly what the hell is uconn thinking? they r going to get destroyed in hockey east!!! i dont have to explain about hockey east because any college hockey fan knos how that conference is and so i say again what the hell r they thinking???

    • http://www.facebook.com/noseeumcreek Kevin Pearson

      CCHA did fine with 11 teams for how long. Honestly, being a Northern Michigan guy, I hope WCHA gets Air Force for geographic sense and Army can maintain an out of conference rivalry with them. Just don’t expect it to happen. Mainly wonder if either Atlantic Hockey or WCHA will ever go near Alabama Huntsville. Rumor is that WCHA is waiting for fallout and whether or not Atlantic Hockey will pick Alabama up after.

      • JJ Jerryrum

        nebraska omaha left after 2010 so only a few seasons have they been at 11 nd i could see air force jumping to the wcha but if they do we might have heard something about it by now being that the wcha has been set at 9 teams ever since this realignment happened nd the case with alabama is every conference doesnt wanna pay the cost of traveling that far and if air force doesnt leave seeing how every aha team flys to air force i cant see how the league would be enthusiastic about adding flying to alabama to its costs

        • http://www.facebook.com/noseeumcreek Kevin Pearson

          Alabama is so desperate to join a conference they have said they are willing to pay some of the travel costs. They just had a horrible record last year and are barely hanging on. According to a report out of the Mining Journal, the WCHA is interested in adding teams to the conference and they only had their first collective meeting last week so many things are still in beginning stages.

    • Joe C

      You can have a nice twenty game schedule with 11 teams. You fill in games for one team each weekend with non-conference games, like with Hockey East around the Beanpot, with ECAC, with BTHC that only has 6 teams and needs non-conference opponents.

      It can work short term, then you can add a program from D-III, the way the RIT enterred,

      • JJ Jerryrum

        short term yes long term no nd theres no guarantee of a D-III moving up to D-I but we all dont kno anything right now the only thing that anyone can be sure of is atlantic hockey or any conference for that matter cant work long term with an uneven amount of teams if 1 did please remind me but i cant think of one off the top of my head so im just gonna sit back nd see how this all unfolds with AHA

  • guest

    Such a bad move for UCONN, Hockey East, Atlantic Hockey, and NCAA hockey in general. See what its like on bad back to back weekends with UNH and Maine or BC and BU. See what its like to play a resurgent Merrimack or a proud Northeastern and or Providence. Have fun UCONN.

    • bronxbomberz41

      Its like how its been for teams like Merrimack, Lowell, UMass, Providence and Vermont (even Northeastern) for a lot of the last 10 years. Yes Some of those teams have really improved, notably Merrimack and Lowell lately, and Northeastern had a killer season a few years ago, but this league is still ruled on Commonwealth Ave. Even UNH and Maine are having a hard time keeping up now. There’s more parity for the schools not called BC or BU, but those two still rule the roost.

  • WhyNotMiami

    Miami Redhawks would have loved trips Boston College, Boston University, UNH, and Providence.

    Instead they are going to Omaha, Duluth, St Cloud and Grand Forks.

    My stomach just turned why would you go west when you could have gone to the East.

    Omaha, Duluth, Grand Forks, or Boston??

    No brainer Boston.

    Miami Redhawks what were they thinking?

    • bronxbomberz41

      because while a good program, Miami makes less sense than ND. At least ND has that huge alumni network and the NBC (NotreDame Broadcasting Company) Sports TV deal. And i’m not a fan of the ND move honestly.

  • hockeyfan13

    You guys really dont think uconn will do well? They will get much better players now that they are in Hockey East, they will have 18 scholarships, improved rink and the backing of one of the best athletic departments. The campus is beautiful and its a great school, not to mention all the local talented hockey players from Connecticut that will die to go there now. Time will tell…

    • Joe C

      All the naysayers need to remember one thing about UConn. Once it can offer scholarships, it can compete for recruits in the tri-state area of CT, NY and NJ. Besides, there is a history of animosity with BC (first Big East shakeup) and UMass (basketball scheduling) that will bring out the donor dollars.

      It all depends on setting up the program correctly. Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont do have a history of Final Fours and recruiting NHL-caliber talent, even though they are smaller state schools with smaller alumni bases.

      I wonder how much longer Hockey East keeps the post-season tournament to the top eight teams, by the way. With twelve teams, that will be four unhappy coaches.

    • Bry M.

      It’ll definitely help recruiting, for sure. It’s a “local” hockey school for elite players from the tri-state region who for whatever reason don’t want to go to Boston or the state schools in upper NE. UConn may have some growing pains but I think they’ll be competitive. Everyone said the same thing about UVM joining HEA and they’ve had a couple of pretty solid years recently. I think it only helps the competition in HEA, which is arguably the best complete conference, team by team, in college hockey.

    • bronxbomberz41

      If Merrimack and Lowell (tiny private catholic school and very small ancillary state school) can field teams that make it to the NCAA tourney coming out of Hockey East, I’m sure that once UConn throws its big school/big money behind the hockey program they will be able to as well.

      • Texas tough guy blows

        Lowell is definitely not a small ancillary school. I believe Lowell is larger than UNH, PC, BC, MC, Vermont and Maine. Also UMass Lowell has gotten a lot more money in the past five years thanks to Marty Meehan, which translates to more resources for the hockey program.

        • bronxbomberz41

          I thought lowell was smaller than it actually was, so I’ll give you that. But they are a DII school in everything except Men’s Hockey. UNH, Maine, Vermont and Providence all compete in D1 or D1-AA level of competition in almost all sports. Extra money helps Lowell, and they look poised to be players for a while, but for years they were the doormat of HEA, along with tiny Merrimack.

  • WhyNotMiami

    Why not Miami Redhawks?

    They can still bail on the NCHC.

    No not UCON.

    Redhawks, Redhawks

  • pevan52

    This gives HE big time name regonition for a league wide TV deal. BC, UConn, and Notre Dame has dollar signs written all over it.

    • Joe C

      Because college hockey fans and general hockey fans have no clue about BU, Maine, UNH or Vermont.

      UMass just got a name-recognition bump from general hockey fans, too. Jonathan Quick’s Conn Smythe was a great thing.

      • Bry M.

        college hockey fans are going to watch Hockey East games, when available, regardless of whether UConn joins. The good news in having UConn join is now Hockey East games are much more likely to be televised locally in the tri-state area. In turn, that gives HEA more leverage in negotiating packages with NBC Sports (formerly Versus) who’ve now begun carrying college hockey games. And it helps raise the profile of UConn’s program, which would help with recruiting. A good move any way you slice it.

        • pevan52

          Bry you said it perfectly. College hockey fans know Hockey East is great hockey, TV execs and casual sports fans don’t. UConn along with other Big East Schools gives name recognition in places like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. These are hockey markets as well as Big East markets but not big college hockey markets. To somebody channel surfing in Philadephia or Pittsburg, Notre Dame playing BC or UConn will catch his eye more than Vermont vs. UNH. Why did NBC carry CCHA games? Do the names Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State mean anything?

  • bronxbomberz41

    Why are people calling for Miami to be among the HE teams? ND made no sense except for TV dollars, i don’t know what Miami would bring to the table (other than a good program, but the level of comp in WCHA is really good too).

    • Joe C

      Concur 100%

      Also, it is not like a Notre Dame/Miami road trip is a big time saver. Hockey East stays at one trip out to Greater Chicago, where they can schedule a second game with BTHC, WCHA or NCHC teams within a bus ride of South Bend, IN. When Merrimack/Lowell fly to play the away half with Notre Dame (example) one could play Western Michigan (or Wisconsin) Friday night while the other plays Notre Dame. Then, on Saturday, they can swap.
      All of the Hockey East schools can get to UConn via I-84 or I-81, with the obvious exception of Notre Dame. It is a long trip from Orono and Burlington. It is a back-road trip from Providence. For everyone else, 2-3 hours of straight highway drives.

      • bronxbomberz41

        Its a long trip to anywhere from Orono.

  • mainejeff

    I like the UConn addition. In this day and age, you need to keep moving forward to keep up with everyone else. This keeps Hockey East on par with the Big Ten……..those 2 conferences will dominate.

  • Joe C

    What are the plans for the Hockey East tournament once there are 11 teams in 2013-14 and 12 teams in 2014-2015?

    I suspect there will be play-in games between the end of the regular season and the start of the quarter finals. Only the top 4 teams (top 5 in the 2013-2014 11 team season) would get a bye for the play-in games. Tuesday night, have the 5-12, 6-11, 7-10 and 8-9 play-in games at the higher seed campus, then reseed and play quarter finals at 1-4.

    The flaw in having play-in games is if Notre Dame has to host a play-in game. That would be extra travel for someone, but I am sure that NBCSN would love to have extra Irish coverage on a random Tuesday.

    The top four teams WOULD get a benefit of one less game to play and a full four days to rest between end of regular season and start of quarterfinals.

  • NotForTheNCHC

    Why does Hockey East need 12 teams look what happen to the WCHA when they expanded to 12 teams?

    The elite teams said they were to good to play with all 12 teams so they packed their bags and took 6 teams with them to another league.

    So why did the WCHA keep expanding if the so called elite teams didn’t want to continue to play the expansion teams.

    Those coaches and AD’s at those schools are so stupid by letting the leagaue to expand to 12 and then bail on those teams.

    If that isn’t backstabbing I don’t know what is? It isn’t like they didn’t know the Big was forming. I love it you invite Bemdji to the big show not to long ago then you bail, backstabbers NCHC.

    • bronxbomberz41

      They wanted ND for the money, and the 12th team to balance the schedule.

    • BulldogFan

      So it’s Bemidji’s fault! Damn Them!!!

  • Brandon

    UConn is going to do great ultimately. It’s always amazed me that they have let this program wallow for so long. With the school’s name brand, they’re instantly more attractive than half of Hockey East and they’re in a talent-rich reason. They’ll be a top 5 team in that league within 5 years

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