Bryn Athyn announces plans to start men’s D-III program in 2017-18

brynathynlogoBryn Athyn College announced Friday its intended move to NCAA Division III varsity status, to take place in 2017-18.

Andrew Burke will coach the program for a school that is playing its 50th season of hockey for the 2016-17 season.

Bryn Athyn is located 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia in the town of Bryn Athyn, Pa.

“We have been very successful in building our hockey program up over the past few years,” said Bryn Athyn director of athletics Matthew Kennedy in a statement. “Much of that success is directly attributable to our head coach Andrew Burke. He puts in countless hours on the road recruiting in the NAHL, OJHL, EHL USPHL and others. There is no doubt in my mind, as a former NCAA player at UMass-Boston, that Andrew is the coach to take us to the next level.”

“I am so proud and happy for Andrew in taking over his first collegiate program,” added current UMass-Boston coach Peter Belisle in a news release. “He was the ultimate hard worker, team player and a great student while at UMass Boston. When he came in we were still very much in the cellar, and his class helped propel us to new heights and played a huge part in where we are now. Throughout his time at UMass-Boston, Andrew constantly served as a role model for his teammates and it’s no surprise that he’s had continued success in the hockey world.”

The Lions advanced to the ACHA Division III national tournament for the past two years with Burke at the helm.

“The move to varsity hockey is certainly exciting for our college community,” noted Kennedy. “A lot of people outside of our campus do not know the pride we have for the story of hockey at Bryn Athyn College. We even have a former student that played in the NHL, and multiple graduates who play professionally abroad.”

“It’s incredibly unique to have our own hockey rink right on campus,” added Burke. “Most D-III schools don’t have that. In fact, we’ll be the only D-III school in Pennsylvania with a rink on campus. It’s not only logistically beneficial for us, but it has kept our fan base especially connected to the team, and that creates a really special energy for the hockey program.”

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