11 , 2003
Iona latest to cut hockey program
losing two member institutions in the last five weeks, college
hockey fans may turn their "sieve" chants away
from opposing goaltenders and toward the Metro Atlantic
Athletic Conference league office. But the MAAC says it's
fully prepared to move forward next season with its nine-team
has decided to drop its hockey program at the end of the
2002-03 season as part of an athletic department realignment.
The announcement comes on the heels of Fairfield's decision
to eliminate its program last month, and just three days
before the Gaels meet Mercyhurst in the MAAC quarterfinals.
to the sympathy for the coaches and players involved, the
cuts raise long-term concerns among fans for the future
of the conference – and, in turn, the sport.
unfortunate, but we're moving forward," said Ken Taylor,
director of championships for the MAAC. "Nine teams
is a really good core in terms of a league. If it happens
again, people will start getting antsy."
realignments are a fact of life in college athletics today,
especially given the economic climate.
we are sensitive to the fact that this is an unpopular decision
in the eyes of many, particularly those it directly impacts,
we are also firm in our belief that this is the best decision
for the overall well-being of our athletics program as we
move forward," said Iona President James Liguori. "We
are certainly concerned about the programs and individuals
whose lives this impacts and alters. However, we feel that
this decision will have an overwhelmingly positive long-term
affect on our remaining programs and student-athletes."
is the third of our 10 main members to do a realignment
this year," Taylor said, "and the second which
is dropping hockey because of it.
Through the Years
members: American International, Canisius, Connecticut,
Fairfield, Holy Cross, Iona, Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart
third of those realignments happened at Canisius –
the Griffins dropped football and seven other sports in
November. Coincidentally, Canisius is now the lone remaining
full MAAC member in its hockey conference (Niagara, also
a MAAC school, competes in College Hockey America). But
Taylor said that the conference remains steadfast in its
run associate leagues as a service to our main members,"
Taylor said. (In addition to hockey, the MAAC has associate
members competing in five other sports.) "Canisius
College wants a home for its hockey program, and we're committed
to providing that."
the MAAC could refocus its energy on expansion to make up
for the lost membership. While Taylor said that "there's
absolutely nothing new to report" on the expansion
front, schools like Navy, Robert Morris and Rhode Island
loom as potential additions.
ADs will get together during the off-season and come up
with a plan for what they want to do in the future,"
Taylor said. "Going forward, you have to discuss whether
we need to expand, or whether we want to expand."
of future plans, none of those schools could be on board
as quickly as next season, leaving the MAAC to rework its
schedule minus the Stags and Gaels.
leaving the college hockey community hoping that the cuts
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