The University of Connecticut announced Thursday that it has been offered and accepted an invitation to join Hockey East in the sport of men's hockey. The program will remain in the Atlantic Hockey Conference for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons before making the jump in 2014-15.
|UConn's Brant Harris (left) and Cole Schneider celebrate a goal. (Steve Slade/UConn Athletics)|
Hockey East, which currently has ten members, will expand to 11 when Notre Dame joins for the 2013-14 campaign before reaching an even 12 upon UConn's arrival.
“This is a historic day in the history of the University of Connecticut and its Division of Athletics,” said Director of Athletics Warde Manuel. “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."
The Hockey East Association was founded in 1984 and league teams have won eight NCAA championships in the past 20 years. Hockey East teams have made 37 appearances in the Frozen Four and 21 appearances in national championship games in the 28-year history of the league.
Since 1999, Hockey East has won six NCAA Championships and has placed 20 teams in the Frozen Four, along with 53 teams in the NCAA Tournament. Thirty-two Hockey East alums have won the Stanley Cup with their respective NHL teams.
“This is one of the most historic and significant days in the history of our conference,” said Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna. “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.
“Warde Manuel and his staff did a commendable job in preparing for this moment and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the role played by the state’s biggest hockey fan, Governor Dan Malloy. Our directors have always said that we would welcome growth through any institution that brings value to our conference. No other school was better positioned to do this than the University of Connecticut.”
UConn plans to play its home Hockey East conference games at the XL Center in downtown Hartford and will continue to play non-conference games in Storrs at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The XL Center is the longtime off-campus home of both the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The University of Connecticut will hold a "Welcome To Hockey East" celebration and press conference on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 12 noon in the atrium of the XL Center in Hartford.