William Smith College announced that it will join the New England Hockey Conference starting in the 2021-22 season.
“We are proud to be founding members of the UCHC and have great respect for our colleagues in the conference,” Director of Athletics Deb Steward said. “However, as we evaluated our hockey conferences for William Smith, as well as Hobart, in relationship to student-athlete experience, branding consistency, facility scheduling, equity, and an understanding of a recruiting base deeply rooted in the New England region, it was important for William Smith College to pursue a conference affiliation with the New England Hockey Conference.”
The NEHC was created and began competition in the 2015-16 season. When William Smith joins, the women’s conference will include Castleton, Elmira, Johnson & Wales, UMass Boston, New England College, Norwich, Plymouth State, Salem State, and Southern Maine. The Soaring Eagles will join the league in 2021 with the Herons.
“The NEHC is excited to welcome William Smith and Elmira to the fold for the 2021-22 season,” said 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 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.”
“While we are focused right now on preparing for our 2019-20 UCHC season, we are excited for the opportunity to join the NEHC in 2021-22,” William Smith Hockey Head Coach Jaime Totten said. “I have enjoyed working with commissioner Mitrano and look forward to working with commissioner Boldvich. Our recruiting efforts have proved to be very beneficial in the New England area and joining the NEHC allows us to play teams within that footprint. I’m thrilled that our student-athletes will be able to play in their backyards in front of family and friends on a regular basis. The conference alignment with Hobart will make branding and scheduling more consistent for the Colleges.”
William Smith currently competes in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference. The Herons will join Hobart in the NEHC. The Statesmen moved to the NEHC in 2017-18.
William Smith was 18-8-2 overall last season and record a 12-4-2 mark in conference play. The Herons finished third in the UCHC regular season and advanced to the conference championship game. William Smith’s 18 wins were a program record. William Smith begins its sixth varsity season on Nov. 1 when it welcomes Salve Regina to The Cooler.