Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee- Violet Turtle Photography
With more teams coming to play Division One Hockey, lets look at our thoughts on why the Atlantic Hockey Association should become two conferences with six or more teams In each one. Given the potential additions to Atlantic Hockey in the next few years, this conference could split as a way to ensure more of its members can compete for a conference bid, and make it easier to schedule more non conference games to increase the chance for at large bids in two conferences. We look at some thoughts for what a split could look like below, assuming it happens in the next two years.
Conference One- College Hockey America
This would be another reborn conference with a more geographically diverse membership, but also one that would shorten travel times and costs, along with maintaining rivalries.
Air Force, Army West Point, Robert Morris, Lindenwood, Niagara,Canisius, Utica, Long Islnd
This would provide a new home for Lindenwood, and get Robert Morris a home in a conference where they would arguably have the biggest media market in their pocket relative to the others in the conference. It would also preserve the service academy rivalry, and provide the conference a natural extra spot for Augustana or another new program coming on soon to join. This look has eight but could easily get to 10 without much extra effort . This would also give the conference a diverse membership of teams looking to align their interests together while fighting for another bid as well. This would give them that, and put them in a good spot to welcome other teams in the sun belt as more look to play College Hockey. Should Utica be admitted, this conference would provide them a natural fit. Robert Morris has been in the CHA before so there’s a natural fit here too.
Sacred Heart, RIT, Bentley, AIC, Mercyhurst, Holy Cross, Stonehill
While there are only seven teams left in Atlantic Hockey here, there’s room for growth. If any team in the eastern time zone wants to come on, they’d be a good look here. In addition, this would save these schools from traveling to play Air Force or any other new member. Should more schools want to make the jump to Division One , there would be a natural fit here.
Keep in mind that both of these are simply our thoughts on re alignment for Atlantic Hockey, and should other events happen outside of these teams, this article would need an update.