Bentley College will move its hockey program to Division I and join the newly-formed Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, effective with the 1999-2000 season, director of athletics Bob DeFelice announced today. Bentley, formerly a member of the ECAC Central, will compete as a Division II independent this season before beginning play in the MAAC.
The MAAC hockey league will start this fall as the nation’s fifth Division I hockey conference. Charter members of the league are American International, Canisius, Connecticut, Fairfield, Holy Cross, Iona, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart. Mercyhurst will also join the conference for 1999-2000.
“This is a great move for Bentley College and our athletic program,” said DeFelice. “It elevates the level of competition to where we want to be. We can’t be thankful enough to the ECAC structure that provided us with the opportunity to grow and develop. We’re looking forward to being a part of the MAAC and competing with the quality programs in the league.”
Bentley’s 1998-99 schedule will include tournaments at Air Force, Quinnipiac, Southern Maine and Babson, four games against future conference rival Mercyhurst, a two-game series at Division II national champion Alabama-Huntsville and a game at Army. Only six of the 28 games will be played on home ice at the John Ryan Skating Arena in Watertown.
The Bentley hockey program, which had suffered through nine straight sub-.500 seasons, has been revitalized since the arrival of coach Jim McAdam in 1993. Since then, the Falcons have posted a 72-50-9 record and made four appearances in the ECAC North/Central/South playoffs, including last year’s 18-9-1 campaign, Bentley’s first ECAC Central regular-season title.
The remainder of Bentley’s athletic teams will continue to compete at the Division II level, in the Northeast-10 and Eastern Football conferences.