Conference continues growth, adds full complement of 18 scholarships.
The 11 member schools in Atlantic Hockey have voted to increase the conference’s scholarship limit to the NCAA maximum of 18, the conference announced Wednesday.
The move will add dozens of full-scholarship opportunities for student-athletes each year across Atlantic Hockey, which previously had limited its schools to 14 scholarships each.
“This is another step forward for our league” said Atlantic Hockey Commissioner Bob DeGregorio. “Increasing the scholarship limit to 18 incrementally will allow us to maintain our vision of not leaving any of our members behind while increasing our competitiveness nationally. Our teams have made great strides in recent years and this will continue that trend.”
Related: All About Scholarships
The move comes at an exciting time for Atlantic Hockey, whose teams have been competitive at the sport’s highest levels. In 2015 RIT reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and two years before Canisius and Niagara both qualified for the tournament.
In addition, several Atlantic Hockey schools have made siginificant facility improvements in recent years. Most notably, Canisius and RIT have opened new arenas, while Bentley has announced plans to build a new on-campus facility for 2018.
“Adding more scholarship opportunities in Atlantic Hockey is great news for prospective NCAA student-athletes and college hockey as a whole,” College Hockey Inc. Executive Director Mike Snee said. “This move will allow dozens more players every year to realize the dream of playing hockey at an elite level while working toward a degree with all expenses paid. Coupled with new programs like Arizona State and Penn State, it’s encouraging to see the growth in scholarship opportunities for Division I hockey players.”
Comments from Around Atlantic Hockey
Lou Spiotti, Jr., Executive Director Intercollegiate Athletics at RIT and Chair of the Atlantic Hockey Executive Committee: “Atlantic Hockey continues to advance in quality and overall competitiveness. This most recent initiative to bring the number of allowable athletic grants in aid up to the NCAA limit of 18 will put our collective membership in position to compete every year for the NCAA Championship against the benchmark leagues in the nation”. I applaud my league partners for supporting this important step forward.”
Steve Butler, Deputy Director of Athletics at Niagara University: “I could not be more excited about the direction of Atlantic Hockey. Removing the scholarship limitation will provide Coach Burkholder and his staff the resources necessary to strengthen our storied program. From a league perspective, it is exciting to see eleven institutions commit to competing at a higher level.”
Derek Schooley, Robert Morris Head Coach: “This is an exciting time to be a member of Atlantic Hockey. The increase in scholarships as well as the increased commitment to all aspects of our programs show that Atlantic Hockey is serious about NCAA Division I hockey. Our teams, our coaches, and our programs have been getting better every year. By increasing scholarships, our teams will continue the rise of Atlantic Hockey.”
David Berard, Holy Cross Head Coach: “Obviously, this is a very exciting development for Atlantic Hockey. Thanks to the quality and talent of the players, coaches, and administrators, we have witnessed tremendous growth as a league in recent years. This announcement is the next step forward in our evolution as a conference. Implementation of scholarships to the full NCAA allotment signals the continued commitment to raise the profile of our league, which will have a resounding impact on recruiting student-athletes to our member schools and provide us a level playing field as we compete against schools from the other five Division I conferences.”