The University of Connecticut has made the much anticipated move to the Hockey East Association for men’s ice hockey for the 2014-2015 season. UConn will be joining the women’s ice hockey team in what is considered the best ice hockey conference in the country.
With the addition of UConn, Hockey East will be comprised of 12 teams including: Boston College, Boston University, Maine, Merrimack, UMass-Lowell, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Northeastern, Notre Dame (starting in 2013-14), Providence, and Vermont.
UConn will remain in the conference they helped found, the Atlantic Hockey Conference, for the next two seasons 2012-13 and 2013-14. UConn Athletic Director Warde Manuel says he plans to bring the men’s ice hockey team from no scholarship players to the NCAA maximum 18 scholarship players.
UConn also announced the team will play its home games in the XL Center in downtown Hartford for the 2014-15 season. Governor Dannel P. Malloy, a huge supporter of the men’s ice hocky program, feels the move will be a success. Governor Malloy says, “The State of Connecticut is very excited that UConn is joining Hockey East and will be bringing the passion of college hockey to downtown Hartford.”
UConn becomes just the 8th school in the country to compete on a national level as a member of a football BCS conference, and national elite conferences for basketball and hockey.
Former player and coach for the past 25 years Bruce Marshall expressed his feelings on the move. “We are very grateful to the administration of the University and to the entire state for bringing Connecticut into Hockey East. ”
“I believe that there is a strong appetite for this level of college hockey here in Connecticut and that Husky fans will embrace our entry in Hockey East.”