Following Atlantic Hockey’s annual directors meeting, the league has announced that the scholarship limit will once again increase in the conference.
A major move regarding the future of Atlantic Hockey, the directors voted to move to 18 scholarships, the maximum allowed per the NCAA.
“This is another step forward for our league” said Atlantic Hockey commissioner Ron DeGregorio in a statement. “Increasing the scholarship limit to 18 incrementally will allow us to maintain our vision of not leaving any of our members behind while increasing our competitiveness nationally. Our teams have made great strides in recent years and this will continue that trend.”
Lou Spiotti, Jr., executive director of intercollegiate athletics at RIT and chair of the Atlantic Hockey executive committee, said the move will improve parity across the NCAA.
“Atlantic Hockey continues to advance in quality and overall competitiveness,” said Spiotti in a statement. “This most recent initiative to bring the number of allowable athletic grants in aid up to the NCAA limit of 18 will put our collective membership in position to compete every year for the NCAA championship against the benchmark leagues in the nation.
“I applaud my league partners for supporting this important step forward.”
“I could not be more excited about the direction of Atlantic Hockey,” adde Niagara deputy director of athletics Steve Butler. “Removing the scholarship limitation will provide Coach [Dave] Burkholder and his staff the resources necessary to strengthen our storied program. From a league perspective, it is exciting to see eleven institutions commit to competing at a higher level.”
Two Atlantic Hockey coaches also released statements on today’s announcement.
“This is an exciting time to be a member of Atlantic Hockey,” said Robert Morris’ Derek Schooley. “The increase in scholarships as well as the increased commitment to all aspects of our programs show that Atlantic Hockey is serious about NCAA Division I hockey. Our teams, our coaches, and our programs have been getting better every year. By increasing scholarships, our teams will continue the rise of Atlantic Hockey.”
“Obviously, this is a very exciting development for Atlantic Hockey,” added Holy Cross coach David Berard. “Thanks to the quality and talent of the players, coaches, and administrators, we have witnessed tremendous growth as a league in recent years. This announcement is the next step forward in our evolution as a conference. Implementation of scholarships to the full NCAA allotment signals the continued commitment to raise the profile our league, which will have a resounding impact on recruiting student-athletes to our member schools and provide us a level playing field as we compete against schools from the other five Division I conferences.”