Hockey East added another member on Thursday when the University of Connecticut's men's team accepted an invitation to join for the 2014-15 season.
Connecticut’s membership increases the conference to 12 teams for 2014-15; the 10 current teams -- Boston College, Boston University, Maine, Merrimack, UMass-Lowell, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Northeastern, Providence and Vermont -- will be joined by Notre Dame in 2013-14.
The Huskies men's team will continue to compete in the Atlantic Hockey Conference for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons before making the move. UConn's women's team is already part of Hockey East's eight-member women's league.
"This is a historic day in the history of the University of Connecticut and its Division of Athletics," UConn director of athletics Warde Manuel said in a statement. "Hockey East is the premier men’s ice hockey conference in the country and we are proud to say that the Huskies are now part of it. We are committed to developing a men’s ice hockey program that can and will perform successfully on the national level and compete for Hockey East and NCAA championships."
UConn plans to play its home Hockey East games at the XL Center in Hartford while continuing to play non-conference games in on campus in Storrs, Conn., at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The XL Center is the longtime off-campus home of the Huskies' men's and women’s basketball teams; it was home to the NHL’s Hartford Whalers, now the Carolina Hurricanes, until 1997.
"The entire UConn men’s ice hockey family is very excited about this announcement," said Bruce Marshall, a 1985 UConn, player and coach of the program since 1988.
"There is a strong appetite for this level of college hockey here in Connecticut and that Husky fans will embrace our entry in Hockey East."
Hockey East was founded in 1984 and its teams have won eight NCAA championships in the past 20 years, including Boston College this past April.