On Monday, the Northeast-10 announced “enhancements” to its men’s programs, in a news release.
Beginning with the 2017-18 season, the NE-10 regular-season schedule is expanding to 18 games with the addition of scheduling partner Post, which joins the conference as a scheduling partner for the regular season only. With Post’s inclusion on the schedule, each team will play a three-game series against each of the other six institutions.
“Our six member institutions with ice hockey have a rich history of sponsoring the sport,” NE-10 commissioner Julie Ruppert said in a statement. “It is important to our membership, and to the full conference, that the NE-10 do whatever it can to support and advocate on behalf of its membership. The expansion of the regular-season schedule to include Post and be comprised of a an equal 18-game round robin schedule will provide our teams with the security of knowing they have the majority of their games in place with their D-II brethren.”
Additionally, in Oct. 2016 the NE-10, with the full cooperation and support of its men’s member institutions, “successfully navigated the NCAA governance process to secure a change to NCAA D-II pre-enrollment legislation for ice hockey that addressed one major recruiting disparity for the programs relative to Division III and Division I. This legislative change enables NE-10 members to recruit all prospective student-athletes from the junior hockey ranks in full alignment with their NCAA D-I and D-III peers,” according to the news release.
Prior to October, prospective student-athletes who had participated in a full junior hockey experience had to sit out a year from participation and they lost a season of competition if they chose to attend an NE-10 institution with D-II hockey. With the change that will be effective with the 2017-18 entering classes, all prospective hockey student-athletes who participate in three years of junior hockey can now choose an NE-10 program and have their full four-year playing career available to them immediately upon enrollment, noted the release.
“We are very pleased that our membership’s efforts to amend this NCAA legislation was successful,” added Ruppert. “Our Division II ice hockey programs deserve the same equal opportunity to recruit student-athletes and fill their class as their D-I and D-III peers do. The previous disadvantages were growing increasingly difficult to manage in an environment where their peers were using negative recruiting tactics surrounding the loss of a year of eligibility. These young men are great fits at our D-II member institutions and it is great news that they are now given the same opportunity to compete for four years.”