SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the CCC will begin sponsoring men's ice hockey as a championship sport beginning in 2016-17. The addition of men's hockey increases the number of CCC championship sports to 16 and marks the first new CCC championship sport since the addition of men's golf in 2013-14.
"As the CCC Chair, I am very excited that we are adding men's hockey as a varsity sport," stated Dr. Zorica Pantić, President of Wentworth Institute of Technology and Chair of the CCC Board of Directors. "This will make the Commonwealth Coast Conference even stronger."
A total of 10 institutions will compete during the inaugural season of CCC men's hockey, with regular-season play beginning in November 2016 and culminating with the first-ever CCC men's hockey championship tournament in March 2017. The CCC men's hockey champion will earn automatic qualification to the NCAA Division III men's hockey championship.
Seven current CCC members Curry College, Endicott College, Nichols College, Salve Regina University, the University of New England, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Western New England University will be joined by Becker College, Johnson & Wales University and Suffolk University, each of which will be joining the CCC as associate members in the sport of men's ice hockey in 2016-17.
"The addition of men's ice hockey as the Commonwealth Coast Conference's 16th championship sport is a proud moment for our conference, each of our full member institutions, and the institutions that will be joining us as our first-ever associate members," stated CCC Commissioner Gregg M. Kaye. "This exciting decision is a testament to the leadership and engagement of the CCC's presidents, each of whom is committed to enhancing the role that athletics plays in the student-athlete experience at their institution. By bringing men's hockey under the CCC umbrella, our conference can ensure that an entirely new group of student-athletes will enjoy the same competitive and championship experiences as so many of their peers have enjoyed in the CCC for more than 30 years."
Curry, Endicott, Nichols, Salve Regina, Wentworth and Western New England currently compete with Becker, Johnson & Wales and Suffolk as members of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast Hockey League, while University of New England is a member of the ECAC East Men's Hockey League.
The 10 men's hockey-playing institutions that will be competing in the CCC have combined to make 13 NCAA Division III men's hockey postseason appearances. Wentworth leads the way with six NCAA tournament appearances (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2012, 2013), joining Curry which has advanced to NCAA postseason play four times (2004, 2005, 2010, 2011) and Nichols which has qualified for the NCAA championship three times (2009, 2014, 2015).
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
"The founding colleges and universities of the Commonwealth Coast Conference have worked with conviction and commitment to build a strong multi-sport conference that provides consistently a challenging and competitive environment for its athletes. The entire Conference welcomes men's ice hockey to its array of championship sports beginning in 2016." – Dr. Anthony S. Caprio, President, Western New England University
"Becker College is honored to become one of the newest members in the sport of men's ice hockey of the Commonwealth Coast Conference. We look forward to bringing our Becker Hawks spirit and pride to the new level of competition this Conference provides." – Dr. Robert Johnson, President, Becker College
"Curry College is pleased to have our ice hockey program join the expanded Commonwealth Coast Conference. The addition of ice hockey to the CCC strengthens the conference, and provides our student-athletes outstanding opportunities for athletic competition against like-minded institutions within the multi-sport conference." – Kenneth K. Quigley, President, Curry College
"The announcement of men's ice hockey moving to the Commonwealth Coast Conference strengthens not only the brand and identity of the CCC, but further enhances the landscape of Division III hockey. Over the past several years the CCC has demonstrated tremendous success from its membership on both the regional and national levels, and I would suspect the men's ice hockey will continue this same standard." – Brian Wylie, Ph.D, Director of Athletics, Endicott College
"The decision to move the ECAC Northeast under the multi-sport umbrella of the Commonwealth Coast Conference and the addition of UNE will pay dividends for years to come for each institution. Men's ice hockey is a premier sport and I am thrilled that it will now be a part of the multi-sport CCC." – Chris Colvin, Director of Athletics, Nichols College
"The Commonwealth Coast Conference has made great strides over the past few years. The upcoming expansion reflects a true commitment from conference leadership and member school presidents to CCC athletic programs and student athletes. It's exciting to add ice hockey under the multi-sport CCC umbrella." – Vinnie Eruzione, Director of Athletics, Curry College
"Johnson & Wales University is excited and looking forward to being an associate member of the CCC for men's ice hockey starting in the 2016-2017 season." – Jamie Marcoux, Director of Athletics, Johnson & Wales University
"On behalf of our student-athletes, coaches and the entire campus, I am very grateful to the Commonwealth Coast Conference for extending this invitation to our men's ice hockey program. We enthusiastically accept this invitation and look forward to our first CCC games in 2016-17. I would also like to thank the Presidents, my fellow athletic directors and Commissioner Gregg Kaye for their vision in adding the University of New England and Men's Ice Hockey as a CCC sport." – Jack McDonald, Associate Vice President / Director of Athletics, University of New England
"Becker College is truly excited about joining the Commonwealth Coast Conference in the sport of men's ice hockey. The CCC is considered one of the premier conferences in all of Division III and we are honored to be associated with this group. Our student-athletes will have a tremendous experience competing in one of the premier Division III men's ice hockey conferences." – Frank Millerick, Director of Athletics, Becker College
"Western New England University is thrilled with the announcement that the Commonwealth Coast Conference will be adding the sport of men's ice hockey as part of our multi-sport offerings. This addition further demonstrates the growth of the Commonwealth Coast Conference and expands the reach and scope of our brand." – Joe Sassi, Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Western New England University
"This is a very important day for Salve Regina University's department of athletics. The announcement of adding men's ice hockey under the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) is a game changer. The addition of men's ice hockey within the CCC demonstrates the commitment of our presidents to strengthen our brand as a true multi-sport conference. The strength and past successes of our CCC men's ice hockey programs will continue to bring regional and national recognition to our institutions and positively enhance the brand of the Commonwealth Coast Conference." – Kelly Scafariello, Acting Director of Athletics, Salve Regina University
"We are truly excited for the opportunity to compete in the Commonwealth Coast Conference." – RJ Tolan, Head Coach, Endicott College
"On behalf of Nichols, I would like to welcome UNE into our hockey conference and we are excited to now be under the umbrella of CCC for hockey. I would also like to welcome Coach (Kevin) Swallow back into the mix and I have no doubt UNE is going to have a competitive hockey program with him behind the bench." – Parker Burgess, Head Coach, Nichols College
"We are thrilled about the formation of CCC Hockey. This move certainly shows the commitment that our institutions have to the sport of hockey. The strength, reputation and perception of the CCC as an athletic conference will certainly elevate the status of hockey not only on our campus, but also within the college hockey community. This is an exciting time for all of us in the WNE Hockey family." – Greg Heffernan, Head Coach, Western New England University
"The Commonwealth Coast Conference has positioned itself to be one of the strongest Division III conferences in men's ice hockey and Becker College is proud to be associated with the CCC. Our student-athletes will get the opportunity to compete against some of the best ice hockey players in all of Division III. " – Steve Hoar, Head Coach, Becker College
"We are excited to join the brand-new Commonwealth Coast Hockey Conference. To join a well-respected, multi-sport conference creates an opportunity for the CCC to emerge as a top conference in D3 hockey." – TJ Manastersky, Head Coach, Curry College
"We certainly appreciate the CCC administrators including the three associate member schools in the new conference. We should have a competitive conference that will be a lot of fun to be a part of." – Erik Noack, Head Coach, Johnson & Wales University
"Wentworth Institute of Technology is excited to be a part of the Commonwealth Coast Conference as the league adds men's ice hockey as a championship sport in 2016. With the addition of Endicott College as a varsity program this season and having the University of New England be a part of the CCC next year, it provides a great opportunity to strengthen an already competitive league." – Jay Pecora, Head Coach, Wentworth Institute of Technology
"The formation of the CCC hockey conference is very exciting for all of the schools involved. Many of the programs in the conference have proven they can compete with anyone in the country. With the addition of Endicott and UNE to the strong field of teams, I think the CCC can be one of the premier conferences in the Division III hockey." – Kevin Swallow, Head Coach, University of New England