RIT Men's Hockey Going Division I
Dec. 14, 2004
by Stephen Jaynes or Bob Finnerty
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Rochester Institute of Technology is moving its nationally recognized Division III men's hockey program to Division I. The Tigers are joining the Atlantic Hockey Association after unanimous approval from the conference's eight colleges, says Bob DeGregorio, commissioner of Atlantic Hockey.
“We are adding an institution that has an outstanding tradition in intercollegiate ice hockey,” DeGregorio states. “RIT has one of the stronger programs at the Division-III level, it has won a few national championships along the way. We've made a decision at Atlantic Hockey that we want to expand and build our base to get stronger as a conference, and one of the ways to strengthen our membership is to add to it. RIT will match up with the other members of Atlantic Hockey right away, and that is in no small part due to their history, their tradition, and their commitment to this program.”
The Atlantic Hockey Association was created in 2003 and is currently comprised of American International, Bentley College, Canisius College, College of the Holy Cross, Mercyhurst College, Sacred Heart University, University of Connecticut and the U.S. Military Academy.
“This is an exciting day for the RIT family—faculty, staff, alumni, parents and particularly the students,” says RIT President Albert Simone. “We're honored to be joining Atlantic Hockey and to be associated with the exceptional schools in this conference. We have 24 varsity sports at RIT involving more than 500 student athletes.”
Continues Simone, “Our student athletes excel in competition and also in the classroom, where last year they recorded a 3.13 grade point average across the entire program. The men's hockey team has a proud 42-year tradition. Today's announcement is a significant milestone for the program and the university.”
RIT will play a Division I schedule beginning in the 2005-06 season, but will not play a full-league schedule. In 2006-07, the Tigers will play an Atlantic Hockey schedule, but will not be eligible for post-season play. In 2007-08, RIT will be eligible for Atlantic Hockey and NCAA post-season play.
“The addition of RIT to Atlantic Hockey gives the conference a proven winner in college hockey,” says Timothy Dillon, director of athletics at Canisius College and president of the Atlantic Hockey Executive Committee. “RIT has been very successful at the NCAA Division III level and will bring a wealth of amenities to Atlantic Hockey, such as an on-campus rink, fans and alumni. We look forward to RIT joining Atlantic Hockey and becoming a very competitive and successful member of the conference.”
The Tigers have built a winning tradition since the program's inception in 1962, which includes two national titles. RIT has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 13 times, including eight Final Four appearances. The Tigers have won two NCAA championships: 1983 (Division II) and 1985 (Division III). They have also won nine ECAC West league titles.
“This is a momentous event in the history of RIT Hockey,” explains Lou Spiotti, RIT's director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation. “We are very proud to be accepted into such an elite grouping of colleges and universities in the Atlantic Hockey Association. A debt of gratitude goes out to all those who have helped to make this happen including our president and his leadership team, our trustees, our coaches, fans and the many hockey alumni who have contributed to our program.”
This season RIT is 7-2-1 overall and is in first place in the ECAC West. The Tigers are currently ranked seventh in the latest national Division III poll.