Rensselaer president Shirley Ann Jackson has announced the timeline for the school’s elevation of the women’s ice hockey program to the Division I level. After one more season at Division III, the Engineers will move up to Division I beginning in 2005-06. That team, which will feature scholarship players for the first time, will compete as an independent.
Rensselaer expects to join the ECAC beginning in the 2006-07 season. By the 2008-09 campaign, the program will be fully funded with 18 scholarships and a complete coaching and support staff.
“Elevating the women’s ice hockey program to Division I will build on Rensselaer’s great hockey tradition,” said Jackson. “This is an exciting transition for our women’s ice hockey program, at a pace which allows us to build a team that can compete at the highest level.”
Plans for the women’s ice hockey team to be elevated to Division I were originally announced by Jackson on Jan. 12. Rensselaer’s Board of Trustees recently approved the timeline announced today.
“We are extremely excited about the direction we are headed,” said Rensselaer athletic director Ken Ralph. “This timeline will allow our program to make a smooth transition into a very competitive environment. It is our goal to minimize the growing pains and to continue to have success on the ice.”
This season, the nationally ranked Engineers, who are coached by John Burke, posted a 19-5-3 overall record and a 13-3-1 mark in the ECAC East. RPI, which was 2-1-2 against Division I opponents, advanced to the ECAC East tournament final for the second straight year.