WAUKESHA Wis.--The Northern Collegiate Hockey Association has welcomed one new member institution and four new teams into the conference this spring.
NCHA Commissioner Steve Larson has announced the addition of the trio of schools, beginning conference play with the 2017-18 season.
Trine University will join as a member for both men’s and women’s hockey.
In addition, Aurora University and Northland College will be joining the ranks of the women’s side of the league to complement the men’s teams both institutions already have as NCHA members.
"We are very pleased to welcome Trine University to the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association and excited that Aurora University and Northland College will also be adding their women's programs to the NCHA,” Larson said. “We look forward to their membership and participation as we continue to strengthen the NCHA."
The acceptance of all team additions has been unanimously approved by the NCHA presidents.
Trine previously named Tom Hofman and Alex Todd as head coaches for its NCAA Division III hockey teams. Hofman will head the women’s team, while Todd will lead the men’s program.
“Joining the NCHA provides the perfect opportunity for our student-athletes to have a positive experience in a growing conference,” Assistant Vice President of Athletics Matt Land said. “We are excited about the opportunities that joining the NCHA will provide for the student-athletes in our hockey programs both on and off the ice.”
The Aurora men’s team joined the NCHA in 2014-15 as a provisional affiliate and played last year as a full-fledged member. The new women’s team will be led by head coach Grant Kimball.
“We are thrilled that Aurora University women's hockey has been accepted into the NCHA, a highly competitive conference with some of the best hockey teams in the country,” AU Director of Athletics Jim Hamad said. “Our mission is to provide an exceptional student-athlete experience and the NCHA provides us with the opportunity to accomplish this goal. We would like to thank Commissioner Larson and the member institutions for their partnership.”
Northland, a charter member of the league on the men’s side, announced back in May of 2015 the addition of its women’s program, effective for the 2016-2017 season. They will start official NCHA play the year after.
“Having both men’s and women’s NCAA Division III ice hockey programs will allow the college to offer an even more comprehensive and equitable intercollegiate athletic program,” Northland College President Michael A. Miller said. “They also increase our ability to serve the needs of excellent student-athletes who want to play here.”
At the start of the 2017-18 season, the NCHA will have 10 women’s teams and 12 men’s teams competing.
(Note: News release courtesy of the NCHA office.)