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New England Hockey Conference

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New England Hockey Conference
NCAA Division III Conference
New England Hockey Conference logo
Founded: 1965
Number of teams: Men: 10
Women: 13
Commissioner: Rudy Keeling
Defending champions (men): Mass-Boston Beacons (2016)
Defending champions (women): Mass-Boston Beacons (2016)
Website: mens:


New England Hockey Conference (known as ECAC East prior to 2015-16 season) is a league in NCAA Men's Division III and Women's Division III.

The women's conference has been unique in that it has been home to schools at the D-I, D-II, and D-III levels.  However, this appears to be changing for the 2017-18 season as the conference appears to be coming an all D-III member conference.  The Holy Cross Crusaders are D-I in all other programs and have announced that they are elevating the program to D-I as what may be part of a move by the school to be joining Hockey East at either the men's level (which would force the school to make the women's program D-I) or the eventual inclusion of both programs in Hockey East.

Castleton State College was renamed Castleton University in July, 2015.

During the fall of 2016 protest have occured at St. Anselm over the women's program  being forced from the conference by the new D-III only policy.  This would likely force the program to move to the Northeast-10 conference which would essentially hurt the program by giving the school only six set opponents for the regular season.  The program at St. Michael's would also likely be forced into the same situation as St. Anselm.

Conference SeasonsEdit



Men's ConferenceEdit

Team Town Arena
Babson Beavers Wellesley, MA Babson Skating Center
Castleton Spartans Castleton, VT Spartan Arena
New England Pilgrims Henniker NH Lee Clement Arena
Norwich Cadets Northfield, VT Kreitzberg Arena
Skidmore Thoroughbreds Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Springs Ice Rink
St. Anselm Hawks Goffstown, NH Sullivan Arena
St. Michael's Purple Knights Colchester, VT C. Douglas Cairns Recreation Arena
U New England Nor'Easters Biddeford, ME Harold Alfond Forum
Southern Maine Huskies Gorham, ME USM Ice Arena
Mass-Boston Beacons Boston MA Beacons Ice Arena

Women's ConferenceEdit

Team Town Arena
Castleton Spartans Castleton, VT Spartan Arena
Franklin Pierce Ravens Rindge, NH Jason Ritchie Ice Arena
Holy Cross Crusaders Worcester, MA Hart Ice Rink
Manhattanville Valiants Purchase, NY Playland Ice Casino
New England College Pilgrims Henniker, NH Lee Clement Arena
Nichols Bison Dudley, MA Levy Rink
Norwich Cadets Northfield, VT Kreitzberg Arena
Plymouth State Panthers Plymouth, NH Hanaway Rink
Saint Anselm Hawks Goffstown, NH Sullivan Arena
Salve Regina Seahawks Newport, RI St. George's School Ice Rink
Southern Maine Huskies Gorham, ME USM Ice Arena
St. Michael's Purple Knights Colchester, VT C. Douglas Cairns Recreation Arena
UMass-Boston Beacons Boston, MA Beacons Ice Arena
New England Nor'Easters Biddeford, ME Harold Alfond Arena

Single Gender Teams (other gender team's league)Edit

Its men's member teams are:

Its women's member teams are:

Membership ChangesEdit

In 1998, the Skidmore Thoroughbreds join the conference.

In 1999, the men's conference loses the Amherst Lord Jeffs, Bowdoin Polar Bears, Colby Mules, Connecticut College Camels, Hamilton Continentals, Middlebury Panthers, Trinity Bantams, Wesleyan Cardinals, and Williams Ephs when they form the New England Small College Athletic Conference. In 2001, 10 members of the women's conference broke off to form the New England Small College Athletic Conference's women's conference and the Salve Regina Seahawks joined the conference from being a Division III Independent and St. Michael's Purple Knights join the conference as a new program. St. Michael's also joined the men's conference.

In 2002 New England College Pilgrims joined the conference after being a Division III Independent for their first season

In 2005, the Rensselaer Engineers (women) left ECAC East and became a Women's Division I team.

The Plymouth State Panthers women's program began in 2006 and joined the conference in 2007.

In 2007, the RIT Tigers (women) left ECAC East for the ECAC West  and the Norwich Cadets women's ice hockey team joined the conference

The Nichols Bison women's program began play in 2008.

The Salem State Vikings (men) left ECAC East when the MASCAC re-formed in 2009.

In 2009, the MIT Engineers women's team has been discontinued  by the university.  The team had played a reduced schedule for most of its existence.  There was no men's team.

The Franklin Pierce Ravens (D-II) and University of New England Nor'Easters (D-III) women's teams joined the conference in 2014 from being an Independent

Teams ineligible for Conference Tournament or NCAA TournamentEdit

The Holy Cross Crusaders (women) are a Division I team playing a Division III schedule. The St. Anselm Hawks and St. Michael's Purple Knights (men and women) are Division II teams playing Division III schedules. None of those three teams is eligible for the ECAC East playoffs or the Division III tournament.  This appears to be true in the new conference as well.  St. Anselm and St. Michael's  have participated in a Northeast-10 conference playoff tournament.

According to an article in the Manchester Union Leader newspaper in mid-October 2016, the conference is apparently planning on becoming stictly a NCAA Division III conference for the 2017-18 season.  St. Anselm Hawks are reportedly not being offered a renewal on their contract to play in the conference for the 2017-18 season.  St. Anselm had previously stated earlier in 2016 that they were considering moving to Division III for all sports but reversed that decision and stated they would stay in Division II in May 2016.  This move by the conference may force St. Michaels (D-II), Franklin Pierce (D-II) and Holy Cross (D-I) out of the league as well.  Protests have occurred on the campus on St. Anselm protesting the school's decision as some students are upset that the men's and women's teams both will not have a conference to play in for 2017-18 or be forced in to a weaker conference (Northeast-10); essentially restricting the teams to have only six opponents for the season.

Holy Cross announced in late October 2016 that it would elevate its women's program to full Division I status for the 2017-18 season.  The school has been rumored to be moving its men's program to Hockey East as a replacement for the departing Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's ice hockey program  which is leaving the conference for the Big Ten Conference for the 2017-18 season.  The move of the men's program would appparently force the school to elevate the women's program to Division I, the men's program would also be forced into a larger arena as Hockey East requires a minimum capacity of 4,000.  The only facility that big in the area would be the DCU Center.  The school stated that is was hoping to announce a conference affiliation for its women's program in December or January.  The three options for affiliation are College Hockey America, ECAC and Hockey East.  An independent schedule for 2017-18 is also mentioned as a possibility.  

Men's Conference Tournament ChampionsEdit

note: University of Lowell is now known as UMass-Lowell (a member of Division I Hockey East)

Women's Conference Tournament ChampionsEdit

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