Change Brewing in Women’s Hockey

Women’s hockey is about to get a major facelift, thanks to the announcement that the ECAC, at both the Division I and III level, will split and form two leagues for each division beginning in 2001-02.

Furthermore, a new Division III league, to be named later, will also begin with the addition of six schools from Western New York and Pennsylvania.

The Division I league, currently comprised of 13 teams, will split into two yet-unnamed conferences clearly delineated similar to their male counterparts. Meanwhile, Colgate will move from the ECAC Division III level to Division I, joining Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, St. Lawrence and Yale in a group of eight. The remaining group of six will contain Boston College, Maine, New Hampshire, Niagara, Northeastern and Providence.

Six new ECAC Division III schools from western New York and Pennsylvania — Buffalo State, Cortland State, Elmira, Neumann, Plattsburgh State and Utica — will come together to form a new league. They will play a 20-game league conference schedule with a two-game home and away series for the first year only.

The 19 current ECAC Division III teams will add Salve Regina and St. Michael’s to the mix in 2001-02, while losing Colgate, to make 20 teams. They will then split into two separate leagues.

One will be known as the NESCAC, and consist of nine teams, including Amherst, Bowdoin, Colby, Connecticut College, Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity, Wesleyan and Williams.

The other league is yet to be named, and will consist of the two new additions, plus Holy Cross, Manhattanville, MIT, Rensselaer, RIT, Sacred Heart, Southern Maine, Union and Vermont for 11 total teams.

The leagues will maintain separate standings and will have separate championships, but will retain a scheduling agreement. Each member will play all members of both the NESCAC and the group of 11.