Niagara to discontinue women’s hockey program

Niagara University has announced a restructuring of its athletics program that includes the addition of women’s track and field and the elimination of women’s hockey.

“Niagara University has a proud history of competition in the NCAA and any change to our programs are taken very seriously and reviewed completely – today’s announcement is no exception,” said Niagara chairman of the board Jeff Holzschuh in a statement. “We understand the disappointment for these young ladies, their families, the coaches and the fans of women’s ice hockey. We will always be very proud of all of the young women who have competed as Purple Eagles on the ice for Niagara University.”

The contraction of women’s hockey affects 20 current players. The student-athletes who choose to continue their undergraduate education at Niagara will receive their athletic scholarships for a period equal to their remaining eligibility. The athletic department will grant immediate releases to student-athletes who choose to transfer and compete for another university.

The restructuring results in the elimination of three full-time coaching positions from the women’s hockey program and the addition of four full-time coaching positions in women’s lacrosse and track.

The university will sponsor 18 teams at the NCAA Division I level after the changes. All but one sport (men’s hockey in Atlantic Hockey) competes in the MAAC.