Big Ten officially welcomes Notre Dame as seventh D-I men’s hockey program

 (2017 Melissa Wade)
Notre Dame played its last game representing Hockey East this past April in a Frozen Four semifinal loss to eventual champion Denver (photo: Melissa Wade).

Notre Dame officially became a sport affiliate member for Big Ten hockey on Saturday.

The Fighting Irish join Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin to give the conference seven hockey programs for the 2017-18 season.

Notre Dame, which had been in Hockey East since the 2013-14 season, will make its Big Ten debut Nov. 3-4 with a series at Ohio State.

With the addition of the Fighting Irish, schedules for each of the seven conference programs will move to a 24-game format that concludes with the 2018 Big Ten tournament, to be held the first three weekends of March with all games taking place on the campus of the higher-seeded teams.

The 2017-18 season marks the 58th year of men’s hockey at Notre Dame. Under the guidance of head coach Jeff Jackson, the Fighting Irish have qualified for the NCAA tournament eight times in 12 seasons, reaching the Frozen Four three times, most recently in 2017.

Notre Dame has previously shared a conference with five of the six Big Ten hockey programs. The Fighting Irish were members of the CCHA (with Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State) from 1992-93 through 2012-13. Prior to that, they were members of the WCHA (with Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin) from 1971-72 through 1980-81.

Notre Dame hockey becomes the conference’s third sport affiliate member, following the Johns Hopkins men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. The Blue Jays joined the conference in men’s lacrosse in 2015, while the women’s team opened its inaugural Big Ten season in 2017.

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