Niagara, Robert Morris Officially Announce Move
CHN Staff Report
HAVERHILL, Mass. Atlantic Hockey made part of the news official today, with a statement announcing the acceptance of Robert Morris into the league. Niagara was also accepted into the league during a vote Tuesday.
League officials and representatives from Robert Morris, including coach Derek Schooley, will be on hand at a news conference next Tuesday to officially discuss the move.
According to Atlantic Hockey, the teams will be admitted administratively starting in 2009-10, and will start competition in the league in 2010-11.
"We are excited that Robert Morris has accepted admission to the Atlantic Hockey Association and that they bring a highly visible and competitive program into the league," AH commissioner Bob DeGregorio said in the statement. "We will now have a pair of institutions in Western Pennsylvania [joining Mercyhurst], and our hope is that this will provide fans of both Mercyhurst and Robert Morris a chance to see Division I hockey and the start of a great rivalry between the two schools."
In moving to 12 teams, the league announced a scheduling system where each team would play 27 league games, by splitting schools into two scheduling regions." Teams in one "region" would play the other five teams three times each (15), and the teams in the other "region" twice each (12).
Which playoff structure would be used for the conference's postseason tournament has not yet been worked out.
Said Robert Morris athletic director Craig Coleman, "We are extremely excited about our acceptance into Atlantic Hockey. Atlantic Hockey is an established, high quality hockey conference that we will be very proud to be a part of. We have worked hard at RMU to develop our hockey program to a high level in only five years, and believe that our entry into Atlantic Hockey is the next big step in that development."
According to the release, DeGregorio and Holy Cross athletic director Bill Bellerose — who is on the Men's Division I Ice Hockey Committee, and is chair of Atlantic Hockey's Executive Committee — initially visited Robert Morris on Oct. 30-31.