Atlantic Hockey to Add Scholarships
Atlantic Hockey, coming off what was arguably its finest season as a conference, announced plans to allow schools to add two scholarships per team to be phased in over the next three seasons. That plan was revealed along with adjustments to scheduling and supplemental discipline following the conference's spring meeting of its Board of Directors.
“These policy changes are significant as the league moves forward into its second decade of Division I Ice Hockey competition,” Commissioner Bob DeGregorio said. “The addition of two scholarships will enable our members to enhance their recruiting abilities to compete with the other Division I leagues without affecting the overall competitiveness within the Atlantic Hockey structure."
In addition, the board received a report on potential expansion for Atlantic Hockey, which will have 11 teams in 2014-15 following Connecticut's move to Hockey East. Two unnamed schools have expressed interest in potentially joining the league.
The biggest news centered on the increase in scholarships.
Atlantic Hockey teams are currently limited to 12 athletic scholarships per team, whereas most other Division I programs offer 18. With this change, Atlantic Hockey teams will have 13 scholarships in 2014-15 and 14 in 2015-16.
Atlantic Hockey teams have proven to be competitive despite the 12-scholarship limit, and should be moreso with added resources. The conference sent two teams to the NCAA Tournament in 2013 for the first time, with Niagara and Canisius both qualifying. Niagara finished 15th in the national polls.