January 25, 2009 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Atlantic Hockey Opening Its Doors?

by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor

Atlantic Hockey members are meeting Tuesday to vote on whether to accept Niagara and Robert Morris as members, beginning in the 2010-11 season, College Hockey News has learned.

Niagara and RMU are both currently among the four teams that make up College Hockey America. The league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, which has been on thin ice for a while, is probably in its last year. Consequently, this is expected to be the last year that the schools — which also include Bemidji State and Alabama-Huntsville — compete as a conference.

As a result, teams will be looking for homes in order to stay viable as programs — an issue that has hung over the collective college hockey fraternity for a number of years now.

Because of the geography, Niagara and RMU are logical additions to Atlantic Hockey. Niagara had resisted in the past, because of Atlantic Hockey's restriction on scholarships, limiting them to 11 instead of the NCAA maximum of 18.

Niagara, based near Buffalo, N.Y., shares a hometown with current Atlantic Hockey member Canisius, and is close to both Mercyhurst and Robert Morris, which is in Western, Pa.

Speculation in the past has suggested that Atlantic Hockey could split into two divisions.

Check back with College Hockey News as this story develops.

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