MARSHFIELD, Mass. - The New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) has announced the addition of William Smith College and Elmira College as league members effective for the 2021-22 season. The Herons of William Smith will join their coordinate partner, Hobart College, as members of the women's division. The Soaring Eagles men's and women's programs will join the NEHC, elevating both divisions to ten programs each.
"The NEHC is excited to welcome Elmira and William Smith to the fold for the 2021-22 season," stated NEHC Commissioner Katie Boldvich. "The continued support and vision from our current members and their institutional leadership have allowed the NEHC to grow into one of the premier men's and women's ice hockey conferences in all of Division III. The addition of these programs further adds to our league's core values and mission as their commitment to the sport and their student-athletes are exemplary."
William Smith has had a varsity hockey program since the 2014-15 season and has seen continued success and growth since the inaugural season. Last season saw the Herons set a new win total as they boasted an 18-8-2 overall record.
"We are thrilled to join the NEHC and look forward to working together with our NEHC colleagues and Commissioner Boldvich to provide our student-athletes with a highly competitive hockey experience," exclaimed William Smith Director of Athletics Deb Steward. "With a recruiting base deeply rooted in the New England Region and our coordinate partner, Hobart College, a member of the conference, it made sense for us relative to student-athlete experience, branding consistency, facility scheduling and equity to pursue a conference affiliation with the New England Hockey Conference. We appreciate the support of the NEHC."
Elmira boasts a rich and deep-rooted hockey history in both their men's and women's programs. Since the men's program's inception in 1973-74, the team has produced only eight losing seasons while making 17 NCAA Tournament appearances. The women are a proven perennial power with NCAA postseason appearances in all but three seasons with the team also claiming three National Titles since their inaugural NCAA season in 2001-02.
"We are excited to add our men's and women's programs to the NEHC. The NEHC is one of the most competitive leagues in the nation and we look forward to competing against those teams," stated Elmira College Director of Athletics Renee Carlineo. "We have a solid recruiting pipeline in the Northeast Region and a strong alumni base in the area as well, which will make for a unique experience for our student-athletes."
Both institutions will play the next two seasons with the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) before making the shift to the NEHC.