Stonehill College to add Division I women’s ice hockey program

Stonehill College to add Division I women’s ice hockey program

Stonehill Faculty ladies’s ice hockey will play on the highest stage in collegiate athletics in simply two years.

The college introduced Monday that it will add ladies’s hockey as a varsity sport and supply scholarships starting with the 2021-2022 season. It turns into the third ladies’s sport that Stonehill has elevated to varsity standing prior to now three years, becoming a member of the Skyhawks’ ladies’s golf (2016) and girls’s swim crew that may compete this winter (2020-21).

Administration officers stated a nationwide search to discover a head coach will start instantly.

“At Stonehill, we’re at all times in search of new alternatives to draw the most effective and brightest of student-athletes. We provide 21 sports activities right here. After we checked out new alternatives, ladies’s hockey was proper there on the high of the listing. The extra we appeared, we saved coming again to ladies’s hockey,” stated Stonehill Faculty Director of Athletics Dean O’Keefe.

The brand new ladies’s ice hockey program will start play within the 2021-2022 educational yr. Plans are for the crew to play out of the twin ice facility at Bridgewater Ice Area, which is owned by former Boston Faculty hockey participant and NHL scout Scott Harlow. Coincidentally, Harlow served as Stonehill males’s ice hockey head coach from 2000-01 by 2006-07, profitable the Northeast-10 Championship in his remaining season behind the bench.

The inaugural Stonehill ladies’s crew will change into affiliated with the recently-founded New England Girls’s Hockey Alliance (NEWHA), a convention that contains Saint Anselm, St. Michael’s, Franklin Pierce, Lengthy Island College, Sacred Coronary heart, and Publish. The possible 7-team NEWHA convention (together with Stonehill) might be eligible to obtain an automated bid to the NCAA Event in 2022.

“That was sort of the impetus proper there. We’ve got an opportunity to affix a convention straight away. The game of ladies’s ice hockey has made nice progress, particularly within the Northeast, and with the joy from the (U.S.) Girls’s Olympic Crew success, we felt it was a no brainer,” O’Keefe stated.

NEWHA Commissioner Robert “Barney” DeGrgeorio, Jr. stated the Stonehill transfer will solely improve the expansion of ladies’s ice hockey.

“Botttom line it’s nice for Stonehill so as to add ladies’s ice hockey, particularly since they have already got a males’s program. They are going to be leaping proper right into a Division 1 league with a possibility to compete for a league championship straight away and, hopefully, for a nationwide championship,” stated DeGregorio, who’s already conducting different growth talks with a few different unnamed colleges. “I believe it says rather a lot in regards to the development,  development, and the chance in ladies’s ice hockey on this space and nationally, too.”

Naturally, an apparent question is whether or not an on-campus facility is in future planning.

“In fact, {that a} good query: Is there a want to have a facility on campus? In fact, it will be nice. It could be good to get the financing, however with Bridgewater (Ice Area), being so shut, the very first thing first is to get the brand new program up and working,” O’Keefe stated.

Along with males’s and girls’s varsity ice hockey, Stonehill additionally presently presents membership hockey applications for each the boys and the ladies.

Stonehill president Fr. John Denning celebrated the constructive facets of including varsity ladies’s hockey.

“The addition of ladies’s ice hockey will present one other compelling alternative for student-athletes to pursue their ardour by athletics and scholarship on the faculty,” stated Denning, who serves on the NCAA Div. 2 Presidents’ Council. “We’re happy to affix the NEWHA and look ahead to introducing Stonehill and our mission to a brand new viewers.”

The Stonehill males’s program (1-6-1, 0-3-1 NE-10), which has been round for the reason that late 1970s, competes within the Northeast-10 Convention and residential video games are performed at Foxboro Sports activities Heart.

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