Release courtesy of the NEWHL Commissioner's Office
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Morrisville State and SUNY-Canton will join the Northeast Women's Hockey League beginning with the 2019-20 campaign.
The NEWHL announced the additions from its league headquarters in Syracuse, N.Y., on Friday, Nov. 3.
The two institutions will join Buffalo State, Cortland, Oswego, Plattsburgh and Potsdam – all State University of New York (SUNY) institutions.
The addition of Morrisville and Canton will bring the fledgling conference to the minimum seven institutions required to maintain an automatic qualifier to the NCAA III National Championship Tournament.
"Adding Morrisville and Canton to the conference is a crucial component in solidifying the automatic qualifier for the league," NEWHL Commissioner Tom Di Camillo stated. "This was the top priority for the conference and now allows the NEWHL to build toward the future with a strong foundation."
Formerly known as the ECAC West, the conference continued its rich history in 2017-18 with the five remaining programs under a new banner (NEWHL) with a new administrator in Di Camillo who also serves as commissioner of the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC).
The league received a two-year waiver to keep the automatic qualifier with just five teams while it sought out new members to reach the seven-team threshold. That clock has stopped ticking.
"It was extremely important for the league to secure two more institutions and maintain the AQ," Tom Cranfield, the senior associate athletic director at Cortland and the president of the NEWHL, said. "Bringing Morrisville and Canton into the fold makes sense from a geographic standpoint, while it also continues us toward our goal of being the premier women's ice hockey conference in Division III."
Both Canton and Morrisville are thrilled about joining the NEWHL.
"SUNY Canton is excited to be joining one of the most competitive and well-respected women's hockey leagues in the nation," Randy B. Sieminski, SUNY Canton director of athletics, said. "We look forward to regularly competing against some of the top programs in the country, including the current defending national champions from Plattsburgh."
The Kangaroos posted a strong 2016-17 campaign.
"Our women's hockey team had its best season ever last year," Sieminski said. "Not only did the team set a new school record with 14 wins (14-11-2), it also was our top team academically recording a 3.67 grade point average this past spring - the highest team GPA in my seven-year tenure as athletic director. They are a great source of school pride both on and off the ice."
The geographic location of both Canton and Morrisville will have a positive impact on all of the institutions in the NEWHL.
"This move will dramatically decrease travel time for our women's hockey team," Sieminski added. "So in addition to saving on travel costs, it will result in less time on the bus and more available time for the classroom and library."
Morrisville Director of Athletics Greg Carroll echoed Sieminski's thoughts on joining the NEWHL.
"The formation of the Northeast Women's Hockey League represents a tremendous step for women's hockey, "he said. "Morrisville State is thrilled to join some of the best programs in all of Division III. While we are still in our infancy with women's hockey with three seasons behind us, we look forward to the challenges that lie ahead. I know this opportunity will help us to continue to build on the success our young program has enjoyed in our first few seasons."