RIT will move from the ECAC Women’s East Hockey League into the conference’s ECAC Women’s West League next season, becoming the ninth member of the league. The decision was made by the league administrators during a conference call on Monday, Dec. 4.
The Tigers will join Buffalo State, Chatham, Cortland, Elmira, Neumann, Oswego, Plattsburgh, and Utica in a move that will greatly reduce the amount of travel for league play for RIT.
“The addition of RIT into the ECAC West Women’s Hockey League will make for enhanced in-league competition and a renewal of some terrific hockey rivalries. On behalf of the Women’s West League, I am happy to welcome RIT as a new member beginning with the 2007-08 season,” interim commissioner Steve Bamford said.
At the Division III level, RIT’s men’s team played in the men’s ECAC West and had rivalries with most of the same schools.
The administrators also agreed to revamp the playoff format starting with the 2007-08 season. Since its inaugural season in 2001-02, the Women’s West League has had four teams participate in the playoffs. The new format will allow for six teams to compete. The first round will take place on Saturday, March 1, 2008 with the sixth seed traveling to the third seed and the fourth seed hosting the fifth seed. The first and second seeds will receive first round byes. Teams will be reseeded for the semifinals which will take place at the highest remaining seeds facility on Saturday, March 8, 2008. The championship game will take place on Sunday, March 9 at the same facility as the semifinals.
“The new postseason league championship format is an opportunity for more teams and most importantly, more student athletes to experience the thrill and excitement that league championship competition provides,” said Bamford. “In addition, with the nationally recognized strength of our league, this new championship structure should benefit more league members in their quest for NCAA at-large bids.”
RIT is undefeated at 7-0 under first-year head coach Scott McDonald and is 6-0 in ECAC Women’s East play. The Tigers have been ranked in the USCHO.com D-III women’s poll for the first time in two seasons.