Compiled by D3hockey.com Staff
Rochester, NY- In a city with a rich hockey heritage, there has been a notable recent void in Rochester as it pertains to Division III hockey. While the immediate metropolitan area sports an American Hockey League franchise, Division I squads at RIT, and the Division III men's programs at Nazareth and Brockport, there are no Division III women's teams in the same area. The closest is William Smith, with Geneva nearly an hour away from Rochester. The absence of a Division III women's program has been in effect since 2012, when the RIT Tigers moved a powerful women's program alongside their male counterparts in Division I.
In the fall of 2018, the void in Rochester will be filled by an institution that looks to build onto existing hockey endeavors. Nazareth College announced plans to introduce Women's Ice Hockey as its 25th intercollegiate sport on Thursday. The team is due to launch in 2018-19 and will play in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference, joining the Nazareth men, and fellow Empire 8 conference institutions Utica and Elmira in the league.
"The addition of men's hockey five years ago really enhanced the variety of our athletic offerings," Nazareth Athletic Director Pete Bothner said in the school's release. "Now we're equally pleased to be able to offer women's hockey. Our hope is that women's hockey will draw interest from a diverse group of student-athletes from various areas of the country."
The announcement comes after the completion of the school's fifth varsity men's season, which ended in an ECAC West playoff appearance for the Golden Flyers men. That program is led by George Roll, who ranks as one of the higher profile coaching hires in recent Division III history after returning to Division III from a stint at Clarkson. The only hockey coach Nazareth has known brought out over 30 players for their inaugural season, and the school seeks a similar buzz around their newest offering that will also play at the Bill Gray's IcePlex. The search for a women's head coach has been underway since March.
More information on the head coach position can be found here.