MARSHFIELD, Mass. – Suffolk Athletics has accepted an invitation by the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) for the Rams' men's and freshly added women's programs to become full-time members beginning with the 2018-19 academic year.
Johnson & Wales and Salem State (women only) will join the highly-competitive NEHC line-up alongside the Rams, while the league announced Hobart to join the conference's ranks, which already includes Babson, Castleton, UMass Boston, New England College, Norwich, Saint Anselm's, Saint Michaels, Skidmore and Southern Maine, next season.
"I am pleased to welcome these programs to the NEHC and grow both the men's and women's divisions with these additions," said NEHC Commissioner, Katie Boldvich. "Bringing Johnson & Wales, Suffolk and Salem State on board solidifies both divisions, while providing extra security for the league's NCAA automatic-qualifiers. Membership continues to shift in Division III hockey and I am proud of the leadership of the NEHC Director's group in adding these programs."
"During an exciting time for Suffolk Athletics with the new addition of sports including women's hockey to our growing varsity athletics line-up, I'm thrilled for the invitation for both Suffolk's hockey programs to join the longstanding tradition of the NEHC in 2018-19," Athletic Director Cary McConnell said. "To join a group of top-tier programs not only allows Suffolk to offer competitive experiences on the ice, but the NEHC's geographic footprint eliminates mid-week travel, which gives our student-athletes more time dedicated to their primary commitment – their education."
Suffolk's men's hockey has a storied history, dating back to the 1950s with the 1980-81 campaign being the blue-and-gold's first NCAA sponsored season. The Rams have enjoyed much success on the ice over the years skating in the ECAC Northeast, before joining the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) contingent for its inaugural men's hockey season in 2016-17, alongside its newly appointed NEHC member Johnson & Wales. For the past 13 seasons, the Rams have been under the guidance of Suffolk men's hockey winningest head coach Chris Glionna.
"We are honored and pleased to join the NEHC for 2018-19," Glionna stated. "It is a league with a great tradition and outstanding programs that share Suffolk's values. We enjoyed our affiliation with the CCC and hope to continue those long time rivalries in non-conference agreements."
On the women's side, first-year head coach Taylor Wasylk believes that the NEHC is the fitting piece to build the Rams' program.
"I could not be more excited to be joining the NEHC," said Wasylk. "I can't think of a better league to recruit to as well as to grew a new hockey program in."
ABOUT THE NEHC
The New England Hockey Conference prides itself on being one of the premiere playing conferences for Division III Men's and Women's Hockey. The league and its members are committed to promoting the sport of hockey, recognizing the student-athletes and promoting fair play and sportsmanship while maintaining a high level of competition.