|Castleton athletics photo|
By D3hockey.com Staff
After a run of close to 50 years as part of the collegiate hockey landscape, one of college hockey's oldest conferences is set for a major facelift, as soon as this season.
Sources have told D3hockey.com that the members of the ECAC East men's and women's hockey conferences will break away and form their own conference, independent of the ECAC organization and administration.
When the news broke Thursday morning, it was expected that the 2015-16 season would be played under the ECAC banner. However, that timing was thrown into question.
The new league will feature leagues for men and women. The men's league is set to feature Norwich, Babson, UMass-Boston, Skidmore, New England College, St. Michael's, Saint Anselm, Castleton and Southern Maine. The women's league roster includes the aforementioned schools that sponsor women's ice hockey programs, and will also include Plymouth State, Nichols, Manhattanville, Holy Cross, Salve Regina, and Franklin Pierce.
Because the conference memberships are due to remain intact throughout the transition process, conference officials expect that the new leagues will retain the current automatic NCAA tournament qualifier spots presently held by the ECAC East when play begins. Otherwise, the new conference would be subject to up to a two-year waiting period for automatic qualification and would compete for Pool B bids in the interim.
D3hockey.com will have more details as the announcement is made. There will be more news to come regarding ECAC leagues this week.