Portions of release courtesy of NEWHA.
WINTHROP, Mass. (September 11, 2019) – The New England Women’s Hockey Alliance (NEWHA) -- which includes the Franklin Pierce University women’s ice hockey team -- received official notice from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on Aug. 1, 2019 that it has officially been approved for active NCAA Division I membership, effective for the 2019-20 academic year.
“The New England Women's Hockey Alliance has been in the planning stages for several years, and now to be recognized by the NCAA as a Division 1 Women's Ice Hockey Conference allows us to compete with the other four conferences at the same level,” commented Commissioner Robert DeGregorio, Jr. “In addition to the NEWHA Conference regular season championship, NEWHA post season tournament, the NEWHA teams are now eligible to qualify for the Division I NCAA Women's Frozen Four.”
Starting with the 2021-22 season, active Division I membership allows the NEWHA champion to be eligible for a bid to the National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey (Division I) Championship.
Per NCAA guidelines, the women's ice hockey National Collegiate Championship is a combined championship opportunity open to all Division I and Division II programs that sponsor the sport and play the requisite number of contests against Division I/II opponents.
“This has created another opportunity for more women's ice hockey student-athletes to participate in this emerging sport for women. I know that the NEWHA student-athletes and coaches are excited and are thankful for this opportunity,” said DeGregorio.
In addition to its slate of 20 NEWHA games, Franklin Pierce has added three Division I non-conference opponents to its schedule for the inaugural foray into the NCAA’s top division. Franklin Pierce will open the season at New Hampshire on Sept. 29, before traveling to Dartmouth on Dec. 13 and meeting Maine for a neutral-site contest in Falmouth, Maine, on Dec. 14.
The NEWHA is comprised of two NCAA Division I institutions and four NCAA Division II institutions. Members of the league include Franklin Pierce, Long Island University (N.Y.), Post University (Conn.), Sacred Heart University (Conn.), Saint Anselm College (N.H.), and Saint Michael's College (Vt.).
NEWHA administrators convened at the National Hockey League headquarters in New York City last July to finalize and solidify its status as an official NCAA conference and discuss organizational details. These individuals were joined by representatives from the NHL, College Hockey, Inc., the Northeast-10 Conference, and College Hockey America for discussion regarding the growth of women's ice hockey and ways to further competitive opportunities for women.
Franklin Pierce’s trip to New Hampshire will serve as the opener for the NEWHA’s first Division I season. Opening puck drop is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, at the Whittemore Center in Durham, N.H. For the full slate of league games, visit https://www.newhaonline.com/composite.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (https://www.fpuravens.com). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics’ official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce soccer apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics’ brand new online store (https://www.shopfpuravens.com).