ANNVILLE, Pa. - After a comprehensive review of the LVC men’s ice hockey program conducted by senior College officers and Rick Beard ’90, M’92, director of athletics, LVC President Stephen MacDonald has decided that beginning in 2010-11, the LVC ice hockey program will compete in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) rather than continue in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III. Men’s ice hockey will continue to be a fully-funded athletic program at LVC.
This change will reduce significantly the amount (and cost) of travel time and missed class time currently experienced by student-athletes. At present, LVC’s hockey team competes against just one Pennsylvania school; in contrast, the ACHA counts over 40 Pennsylvania institutions among its members and thus affords LVC the opportunity to build regional rivalries while reducing travel costs. The College leaders believe that this change also will be advantageous to LVC competitively. “We are confident that LVC hockey teams will be able to play competitively against other ACHA teams and afford our student-athletes the measure of success they have been unable to enjoy recently in NCAA Division III,” said Dr. MacDonald.
“The move to the ACHA will give our student-athletes greater opportunity for success academically, socially, and athletically,” said Greg Krikorian, LVC vice president for student affairs. “It will create a stronger student-athlete experience.”
“Men’s ice hockey will continue to be a fully funded and supported program at LVC including College funding for equipment, travel, and coaching. We will continue to compete and practice at Hersheypark Arena,” said Beard.
The ACHA was founded in 1991 with 15 charter members including The Pennsylvania State University and the U.S. Naval Academy. It has grown to over 350 members across the country and across three divisions. All ACHA teams are members of USA Hockey and the American Hockey Coaches Association
While this maybe a blow for NCAA DIII hockey, this is good for the ACHA DI and also LVC. LVC hasn’t been competitive at hockey in many seasons. ACHA DI will also the team to at least have a better chance at a winning record, or at least a respectable record.
For those on here who are "sad", "angry", "upset" or whatever, and even the headline of facebook group- "Save LVC Ice Hockey" is a little bit of over-reaction.
At least the school isn’t disbanding the team and there won't be ANY college hockey. In fact if you're a fan of LVC hockey you wont see much of a difference between NCAA DIII and ACHA DI besides the team having a better chance of winning and competing. It also allows a small school such as LVC to play against major schools along with regional opponents. The press release statement indicated there are over 40 ACHA schools in PA, LVC shouldn’t play against most of them (most of the ACHA DII and all ACHA DIII schools). But there's plenty of ACHA DI teams from Big schools within a few hours drive, going ACHA DI doesn't stop LVC from playing games against any rival NCAA schools they've developed either.
Penn State, Penn State-Berks, West Chester, Duquesne, Pittsburgh, Washington and Jefferson College, Indiana University of PA, Slippery Rock, Lehigh University, Villanova, University of Scranton, Robert Morris.
There are also many other ACHA DI teams in neighboring states.
The ACHA DI is not the NCAA DIII some ACHA supporters think so, but the level is still high and ACHA (esp. at DI and some DII teams/leagues) has drastically improved starts of play, with the growth of USA Hockey American Development Model and the relatively low amount of NCAA DI and DIII schools compared to a growing talent pool the level of ACHA hockey will continue to improve and probably close the gap between NCAA DIII schools over the next decade.
As for the players, it might be a disappointment about not playing NCAA DIII hockey, ACHA DI hockey has a good reputation as well, As a hockey player myself- there always should be an elements of hard work, fun, and the love of sport- but we're not 5 and 6 year old kids anymore where coaches say "go out and have fun, and don't worry about losing every game", winning is fun too!! I'm sure the players would rather win than continue playing DIII and get destroyed every game.