ECAC Issues Holding Up AH Efforts

After a day of meeting among the athletic directors from Atlantic Hockey, there remains little in terms of news to report. The reason: what impact the anticipated expansion of the ECAC might have on Atlantic Hockey.

Four Atlantic Hockey teams — Holy Cross, Mercyhurst, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart — all made presentations for membership to the ECAC last week. The league has announced a July 1 deadline to make an announcement concerning which, if any, teams it will accept for membership beginning the 2005-06 season.

That, according to Atlantic Hockey commissioner Bob DeGregorio, delays his league’s decision-making process.

“The big stickler right now is to try and find out what’s happening with the ECAC,” said DeGregorio. “Initially, everyone thought it would be none or one [new teams into the ECAC]. Now people seem to think it’s going to be none, one or two.”

DeGregorio said that if the ECAC does in fact take two new teams it will have major impact on his league no matter what.

If both teams come from Atlantic Hockey that would leave the newborn league with only seven members, increasing shared costs for member schools. If only one of two teams come from Atlantic Hockey, that would translate to Niagara
— the fifth applicant — to vacate the CHA and leave that league with only five clubs. The NCAA requires that a league have six members to receive an automatic berth to the national tournament, easily the most important recruiting tool a team could use.

So with so much flux still to come, right now Atlantic Hockey will remain delayed on key issues.

“We voted yesterday to wait,” said DeGregorio, whose league is battling with two key issues: expansion and scholarships. The league has already voted to make no changes to either for the coming 2004-05 season, but hope to put a plan in place should either or both expansion or scholarship limits change for the 2005-06 season.

The league’s athletic directors will reconvene on Wednesday, July 7, after the anticipated announcement from the ECAC.