UConn joining Hockey East for the 2014-15 season
Hockey East has found its 12th team, and it won't be RPI.
The University of Connecticut announced Thursday that it will join Hockey East. The Huskies will hold a "Welcome To Hockey East" celebration and press conference next on Friday at noon in the
atrium of the XL Center in Hartford.
The Huskies, who currently play in Atlantic Hockey, will join Hockey East for the 2014-15 season.
"This is a historic day in the history of the University of Connecticut and its division of athletics," UConn athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. "Hockey East is the premier men's ice hockey conference in the country, and we are proud to say that the Huskies are now part of it. I would like to thank Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna and the athletic directors at the institutions that comprise Hockey East for providing us this special opportunity. We are committed to developing a men's ice hockey program that can and will perform successfully on the national level and compete for Hockey East and NCAA championships.
"I would also like to recognize commissioner Robert DeGregorio and our fellow Atlantic Hockey institutions for their support during this decision
The UConn women's hockey team already plays in Hockey East. Now, the men will be joining them.
"This is one of the most historic and significant days in the history of our conference," Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna said. "We have enjoyed a terrific relationship with the University of Connecticut for more than a decade through our involvement with its women's hockey
program. Today, we start a new chapter in this relationship and we couldn't be more pleased."
With Notre Dame joining Hockey East for the 2013-14 season, the conference had 11 teams. It needed a 12th member, and RPI was long considered to be a front runner to leave ECAC Hockey for that spot.
But before the start of last season, RPI athletic director Jim Knowlton said that the Engineers weren't going anywhere.
"We're absolutely confident that the ECAC is a superb league," Knowlton said. "Academically, it's the same kind of institutions that we want to be surrounded by, and we feel very, very comfortable at where we are. I've talked to many folks in the league, and our concern is we want to be members and partners with those teams on our league. I'm very confident that everyone feels good about our league and wants to be part of that league.
"We're happy with ECAC Hockey. We do not want to be making decisions because of what someone else is doing. I feel very confident that we're in a good spot. We're where we like to be, where we want to be and we have a lot of great rivalries in our league that I would not want to lose by going some place else."