Holy Cross to Hockey East?

There’s a story by Nick Kotsopoulos at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that reports that the Worcester city council is encouraging Holy Cross to consider a move to Hockey East by playing at the downtown DCU center.

Speculation on a 12th Hockey East team has been thought to affect Atlantic Hockey both directly and indirectly. Holy Cross and Connecticut would be good candidates if they had bigger facilities. But most of the interest seems to be around RPI, which would probably leave ECAC Hockey if invited by Hockey East. Speculation is that a few AHA schools might be interested in the vacated ECAC spot, with Rochester Institute of Technology being the leading candidate.

Hockey East says it will take its time on deciding on a 12th member, but this is an interesting wrinkle.




  1. Paula,

    Just a clarification for your readers. BC and Maine played a single game (Sunday), with Maine winning 4-1.

    Maine played one of its best games of the entire season. Now, if they could just play like this on the road.

  2. “The Lakers played their first D-I game since December on Friday night and came away with no points and no goals to show for it. MSU shut out LSSU 4–1 Jan. 14 and the teams tied, 2–2, the following night.”
    2 mistakes here (in addition to getting the score wrong from the first night). No goals, yet she notes a total of three. And zero points, but you get at least one with a tie. Why even bother???

  3. Interesting ideas about 2 teams, neither of which really fits into HEA.  HC has not historically spent the $$ needed to be competitve in DI sports, and moving to the DCU is not going to change that.  On the other hand, RPI has the tradition, fan base and a great facility.  However, it is in Western New York so does not fit into the New England footprint that defines HEA.  Notre Dame will prove to be a mistake, in my opinion.  Let’s not make another with either of these teams.  Quinippiac is probably the best choice out there, or UConn, if it decides to get over its issues with BC and put some real $$ into its hockey program.

    • Holy Cross makes a ton of sense geographically, as Worcester is about an hour drive (not during rush hour) to all of the other Massachusetts and Rhode Island programs, including the UMass flagship program. It is the same distance as BU/BC to Maine, UNH and UVM, while also making sense for Notre Dame’s trips east. A twelve-team Hockey East would mean that Notre Dame would have to take 6 trips to New England or have three games in one trip to fulfill a 22-game Hockey Eat schedule.

      UConn makes the most sense from a television/alumni future potential perspective. RPI makes the most sense from a historical sense (excluding any and all Ivy League schools) but RPI has to weigh Hockey East benefits to losing New York state rivalries. Quinnipiac is the best overall fit for New England schools.

      Maybe Bill Simmons can funnel some of his Grantland money into making his alma mater Holy Cross hockey take hockey as seriously as his graduate school BU.

      Schools close to AHL rinks all have a potential home that meets the game-day requirements. RPI has Pepsi Arena, Holy Cross has DCU, UConn has Hartford Civic Center (not sure of the sponsor). However, practice facilities and weight rooms also need to be up to snuff. The revival of BU can be traced to Agganis Arena, the explosive growth of the BU Women’s program can be traced to having Walter Brown all to themselves.

      I am sure that Worcester/DCU would not mind having events with local Hockey East schools as opposed to AHA schools, no disrespect to AHA.

      • Yes, I know where Worcester is because I live there.  However, HC is not a DI school and does not generally invest $$ in their teams.  That means that other than geography, what exactly do they bring to HEA?  I would say that the vast majority of fans in Mass are BU or BC fans, or UMO or UNH alums like myself.  So, HC’s fan base is miniscule.  Not to mention, the DCU is not exactly state of the art.

        • The College of the Holy Cross plays D-I in 25 sports, 12 men’s and 13 women’s. Within Hockey East, there are four Catholic colleges and universities, Providence, Merrimack, Boston College and Notre Dame. That is the most likely reason that Hockey East would extend an invitation, along with the travel consideration.

          Is Holy Cross the biggest or best program being considered? Is the DCU, which has had many different names the many times I have been there, the best facility? Neither is true, but both Holy Cross and the DCU are quite serviceable. Would Holy Cross have to invest more money than they do now? If they want to make the leap to Hockey East, then yes.

          Personally, I would rate a fully committed UConn as the best choice for future growth, Quinnipiac as the best fit as it currently exists, RPI as a classic pick and Holy Cross as a good fit if they decide to reboot their commitment to athletics.

          Merrimack is a small school with a small fan base. They also are a great fit in Hockey East. Hopefully, if this is the choice, Boston College will play nicer than it does with UConn.

        • Time to embrace HC if you’re in Worcester, BBear.  At least know that they’re D-I.  Quick quiz.  How many NCAA Basketball Tourney appearances have been made by each of the Div. I schools in MA since 2001?

          BC – 7
          HC – 4
          BU – 2
          Northeastern – 0
          UMass – 0
          Harvard – 0

          The wheels have fallen off the hoop team in the two years since Ralph Willard left but they should be pretty good again this year, with an outside chance to win the league and get back to the Dance.

    • If you’re worried about monetary investment in hockey, it’s UConn you should be worried about moreso than Holy Cross.  What makes you think UConn is more likely to put $$ into hockey than HC?

        • I concur that either UConn or Holy Cross will need to take a step forward with their funding to become part of Hockey East. I have no feel for which school is more likely to do so, but Holy Cross probably has the advantage being a private school.

  4. The rumor is that discussions are real amongst HC alumni with financial backing.  Many years ago HC declined the Big East despite their dominating history in New England basketball (until UConn in late 90’s, HC was the last to win NCAA in basketball from N.E. and they are still the last from N.E. to win baseball) because they felt their academics would suffer.  The current president, although stepping down, is a big hockey fan.  Moreover, HC would do it if it increases their academic competitiveness.  They are currently undertaking big time renovations of their sports complex.  HC is a similar profile to Colorado College which does exactly the same.  They have a veteran coach who beat Minnesota a few years ago in NCAA’s.  All this plays into HC going to ECAC or HE within 3 years.

    • Also, Holy Cross decided not to go big in Division I Football and make the move to FBS, instead opting to be successful in FCS (which used to be I-AA) football.

      By the way, love the blog name. I am teaching the boys to chant, “Go BU, Beat BC” and in a couple of years, I will teach them the end of the cheer.

      • There’s a big difference between the cost of going big in FBS football (where there is no other school of HC’s size on that level – I think Wake is the only one who is even in the same hemisphere) and going big in Div. I hockey.  HC already has 12 scholarships so they’d only have to add another 6 scholarships.  The needed new barn is where the real financial commitment would be and that would be privately funded through alumni donations.  Of course, UConn’s facility isn’t any better than HC’s and the taxpayers are going to fund a new basketball practice facility long before they fund another new rink (they played outdoors not that long ago).

        • Completey agree that there is a huge difference, both in up front costs (look at Penn State’s 90 Million of TWO D-I hockey programs) and annual costs (number of scholariships)

          I mentioned FCS (old D I-AA football) for the same reason that BU could build Agannis and Northestern could upgrade Matthews when they dropped it. For Holy Cross, they can afford FCS, but in the 1980s-90s, they realized they could not afford the jump to FBS. BU and Northeastern realized they could not afford to maintain FCS and concetrated on the rest of their athletic programs.

          North Dakota is a another perfect example. North Dakota is a powerhouse in hockey and an afterthought in football, just like Kansas is a powerhouse in basketball and an afterthought in football.

          I suspect that Holy Cross being private is an advantage, especially since basketball (and joining the ACC) seem to be UConn’s priorities.

  5. Quinnipiac doesn’t offer much beyond a nice facility.  They are a middling school with a middling ECAC hockey program.  They have made it past the ECAC quarters one time in their 6 years in the league.  They did not win Atlantic Hockey in either of their years there.  HC not only made it to the NCAAs 5 years ago but stunned Minnesota in the first round.  All the problems with HC’s potential membership can be addressed with funding.  Whether HC will make the commitment remains to be seen.  The problems with the other schools (primarily geography) can’t be fixed at all.  If HC makes the commitment, they are the choice.

  6. Hockey East will never need a twelfth team because Notre Dame will be in Hockey East one season at the most (if at all) before heading to the Big Ten. Notre Dame will eventually have to join a football conference with an automatic BCS bid or they will be shut out for a chance to play for the national championship. Everything in college sports is being driven by football. That’s where the money is. Notre Dame won’t be able to stay an independent in football much longer. While there has been talk about them going to the ACC, the Big Ten is the likely place they will land. 

    • I see Notre Dame going to ACC (and making that a 16-team conference) long before I see Notre Dame and the Big Ten reconciling. That is also why the ACC is holding at 14 teams and Rutgers/UConn did not get an invite in the current round, as the ACC needs a placeholder. Rutgers probably goes to Big Ten, since it is an AAU school.

      I believe, as you do, that Notre Dame in Big Ten makes perfect sense from a geographical sense. However, from a football television sense, Notre Dame delivers the entire Northeast corridor, from DC to Boston. Rutgers or UConn do not have as much television presence in New York as Notre Dame does.

      In the end, if Notre Dame has to go to a conference, it will be the ACC and once that happens, the ACC basketball tournament moves to Madison Square Garden, ACC football championship game moves to Fedex and all ACC schools playing hockey will remain in Hockey East.

      Who doubts Notre Dame’s ability to snub the Big Ten yet again?

  7. Anyone who knows the clout that HC carries, realizes it comes from the college president.  And that clout carries to the PC, BC, ND, Merrimack–4 votes that will line HC up for Hockey East, if HC wants it.  All these Catholic schools will support HC if they want in.  The same was true in 1980 when the Big East was forming.  Even today, if HC called up to join the Big EAst in basketball the answer would be yes.  They choose to be where they are because of their academic rigor and the kids are true amatuers on the fields but professionals in the classroom.
    Therefore, if joining Hockey East or ECAC means a better academic profile for the school they will do it.  There is no doubt that football is costly and, HC has suffered emotially for their decisions (sadly, anyone with knowledge of HC history will recall that their outstanding football coach committed suicide in the late 1980’s when the school decided to downsize their 1-AA powerhouse) so they don’t make them lightly.
    Right now, HC competes with Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton for the hockey player profile not with BU or BC.  The edge goes to Harvard, etcs because it is Ivy.  The new rink is going into their sports facilities, they are tearing down their field house, building a new student center.  If they long on this, they go with the women’s hockey team also going into ECAC or Hockey East.  It would be more logical for them to go after ECAC than Hockey East.  They will have the rink, the money, the coach and the players.
    Sorry, but HC beats BU this Saturday night.  Upset, I know, but BU is vulnerable.  Also, watch for Providence to start rising in the Hockey East.  Leaman is a magician.  That will have an impact on BU, BC recruiting. 

    • HC almost beat BU at BU when they last played in 2008.  I can’t see HC winning Saturday but it should be a reasonably competitive game.  Here’s Parker on the last game: “I know the last time they came into this building, they gave us more than what we ever wanted. I think we had to score two goals late to get the 3-2 win and they dominated the game. Without goaltending, we would have easily gotten beaten.”

    • I completely agree with you, BeatBC. Who in Hockey East would be against Holy Cross?

      As for recruiting, I do not think any Hockey East school worries about other college programs. They are more worried about QMJHL and OHL


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