Hockey East Votes to Accept UConn
by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer
Hockey East members voted on Wednesday to formally accept Connecticut as the league's 12th member, according to multiple sources.
According to sources, the league will formally invite the Huskies to join the conference, at which point it's expected that UConn will swiftly accept the invitation. A formal announcement could come as soon as Friday, however, is likely to occur next week.
UConn will become the league's 12th member, with Notre Dame joining the conference beginning with the 2013-14 season. It's unknown, as of now, when UConn will join the league, but sources indicate it could be 2014-15. That would allow more notice to Atlantic Hockey, UConn's current home, and more time for the Huskies to secure a better playing facility.
As CHN first reported, Hockey East officials visited UConn in March. Last month, Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna told the Associated Press that expansion plans included UConn.
The Huskies are currently a member of Atlantic Hockey.
The seismic shifts in the college hockey landscape, that created the Big Ten and NCHC as of 2013-14, left Notre Dame looking for a new home. Once Notre Dame settled on Hockey East as the 11th team, it was no secret that Hockey East preferred to add a 12th to go with it, to keep the conference membership at an even number.
Connecticut became the natural choice to join its fellow New England state schools — Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Mass.-Lowell. But there have been many questions over UConn's facility, which is a small on-campus arena that is not desirable for Hockey East play.
It is unknown whether that situation has been definitively addressed, but clearly UConn's answers were enough to satisfy Hockey East officials. Playing at the nearby XL Center in Hartford is considered one possibility, in lieu of an upgrade to the on-campus facility.