WAKEFIELD, Mass. - The Women’s Hockey East Association and the College of the Holy Cross announced today that Holy Cross has accepted an invitation to join the conference as its 10th member school. The Crusaders will begin play as a member of Women’s Hockey East in the 2018-19 season with games being played on the Holy Cross campus in the newly renovated Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex.
“It is always exciting when we are able to grow our membership ranks and particularly so with an institution of such unique prestige and character as Holy Cross,” said Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna. “We look forward to joining forces with the Crusaders to bring the Hockey East brand to Central Massachusetts and its great hockey fans.”
Women’s Hockey East began as a six-member conference with Boston College, the University of Connecticut, the University of Maine, the University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, and Providence College competing in the inaugural 2002-03 season. The conference has added a total of three teams on two occasions prior to today; Boston University and Vermont joined the league in 2005, while Merrimack College became the most recent addition in 2015.
Both the Terriers and Warriors joined Women’s Hockey East as first-time varsity programs. Boston University has gone on to win five WHEA Tournament championships and appear in two NCAA title games, while Merrimack reached the playoffs in 2016-17 in just its second season in the conference.
“This is a historic day for the College of the Holy Cross and for our women’s ice hockey program,” said Holy Cross Director of Athletics Nathan Pine. “I’d like to thank Commissioner Bertagna and the Women’s Hockey East membership for their confidence in Holy Cross and for this wonderful opportunity to join their ranks. We are committed to competing for championships in Hockey East, and I’m confident all of our constituencies will be excited for this important move.”
Holy Cross first fielded a varsity women’s ice hockey team in 1999-2000, and has won five ECAC East/New England Hockey Conference Open Tournament titles throughout its history – in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2016. The Crusaders have posted a winning record in each of the last 11 seasons, including a combined mark of 46-8 over the past two years (22-5 in 2016-17; 24-3 in 2015-16).
“This is a great day for our Holy Cross women’s ice hockey family,” said Holy Cross head coach Peter Van Buskirk. “The leadership on our campus has shown a great commitment to the future of our program, and everyone from our current student-athletes to our dedicated alumni base is looking forward to our new home in Hockey East.”