Hockey Schools Form 'Atlantic Hockey'
Bob DeGregorio named commissioner of new conference
The nine schools
that formerly made up the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference hockey
league announced on Monday that they have left the MAAC and formed
Atlantic Hockey, a new conference that will begin play in 2003-04.
athletic director and Hockey East commissioner Bob DeGregorio,
Jr., has been named Atlantic Hockey's first commissioner. DeGregorio
spent 20 years overseeing the Warriors' varsity programs and was
Hockey East's commissioner from 1993-96.
The new conference
will maintain an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament –
which the champion of the MAAC has earned for each of the last
came after a Friday afternoon vote of the nine athletic directors.
The schools were given a Monday deadline from the MAAC to decide
whether the 25-sport conference would continue to oversee the
affiliate hockey league.
nine members of the new Atlantic Hockey are extremely grateful
for the leadership that (MAAC commissioner) Rich Ensor and the
MAAC have provided us during the first five years of Division
I hockey," said Jack McDonald, athletic director at Quinnipiac.
"We are all very excited about our new name, new governance
and new commissioner."
that this is a great opportunity," DeGregorio said. "I
look forward to working with all of the (athletic) directors and
coaches in the league. We hope to make this league one of the
strongest in Division I ice hockey in the near future."
The MAAC was
formed in 1998-99 with eight members, including three that had
full MAAC membership – Canisius, Fairfield and Iona. The
other participating schools were had affiliate memberships in
hockey only, giving them a league to play in, but no direct say
in the league's governing structure.
Through the Years
members: American International, Canisius, Connecticut, Fairfield,
Holy Cross, Iona, Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart
Nine remaining schools split from MAAC and form Atlantic Hockey
and Iona decided to drop their programs earlier this year, that
left just one full-fledged MAAC school – Canisius –
participating in the MAAC hockey league. Splitting to form Atlantic
Hockey will give all nine schools an equal say in the conference's
governance, without losing the all-important automatic bid to
the NCAA Tournament.
the hockey league members continued success as they continue on
to a new affiliation," said Ensor. "The short history
of the MAAC Hockey League was filled with tremendous growth and
The MAAC hockey
league played a big role in changing the landscape of Division
I hockey during its brief five-year existence. Its presence and
growth was a large reason that the NCAA expanded its men's hockey
tournament to 16 teams. This past April the MAAC, along with member
school Canisius and Niagara of the CHA, hosted the NCAA Frozen
Four in Buffalo.
MAAC, none of college hockey's six Division I conferences enjoys
membership on the NCAA Management Council, a group restricted
to conferences that sponsor men's basketball. The CCHA, CHA, Hockey
East and WCHA are all single-sport conferences, and the ECAC does
not have a men's basketball conference.