With today’s announcement that RIT has been accepted into Atlantic Hockey, the league’s coaches had comments about the move. Among the current eight members of the league that will welcome the Tigers in 2006, only Army has never played against RIT.
Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin, whose teams used to face RIT in the ECAC West when the Lakers competed at Division II, said, “All of us here at Mercyhurst College are very excited that RIT will be joining Atlantic Hockey. There is a great tradition of men’s hockey there and the program will be a tremendous addition to the conference.
“The inclusion of RIT in Atlantic Hockey will soften the blow of losing another great program, Quinnipiac, to the ECAC. Mercyhurst is also looking forward to renewing a great rivalry it had with the Tigers from the late 80’s to the late 90’s as members of the ECAC West.”
RIT is 16-9-3 against Mercyhurst. The two teams last played in 1999.
Gary Wright, coach of American International, said, “The addition of RIT further energizes our league. RIT is a renowned institution, the city of Rochester has a rich hockey history, and their strong hockey program is well established.”
Brian Riley, first-year coach at Army, said, “We, here at West Point, are very excited to be adding RIT to the league. During a time when expansion is inevitable, RIT is a perfect fit for Atlantic Hockey. It is an institution with high academic standards and an excellent hockey tradition. The school boasts a first-class facility on campus, and Wayne Wilson is an outstanding head coach. We look forward to establishing a new rivalry with the Tigers within the league.”
Ryan Soderquist, Bentley coach, and a former Bentley player who faced RIT, said, “I think RIT is a really good fit for the league. RIT has a very strong academic reputation and also a long tradition of having a very solid hockey program. I think that they really can step right in 2006-07 and compete at this level.
“It’s a great step for the conference to add another school that has an on-campus rink. I believe it brings the league to five schools with on-campus facilities, which is always a step in the right direction.”
“We’re excited to have RIT join the ranks of Atlantic Hockey,” said UConn coach Bruce Marshall. “They have a strong hockey tradition at the Rochester Institute of Technology and we look forward to having that as a part of our league. When UConn faced RIT in the past there was always good competition between the teams and we welcome the opportunity to face them as a conference opponent in the future.”
Paul Pearl, Holy Cross coach, said, “I’m very excited to have RIT become a part of our league. They have a storied program, a great coach, and excellent tradition. We at Holy Cross welcome RIT to our ranks, and look forward to seeing them on the ice.”