Notre Dame officially joins Hockey East

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

The University of Notre Dame, in a joint press conference with Hockey East and Boston University representatives, officially announced today that the Irish will join Hockey East beginning during the 2013-14 season.

The announcement comes as no surprise to many of those familiar with the situation after months of speculation and rumors.

“Hockey East is very proud, very excited to be part of the excitement going on with Notre Dame hockey,” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna.

With the coming demise of the Central College Hockey Association, Notre Dame had three options when it came to the future of its hockey program, according to director of athletics Jack Swarbrick: join the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference, stand alone as an independent school or join Hockey East.

“There were pros and cons to each, but at the end of the day it was a clear one for us,” Swarbrick said.

The school decided to join Hockey East after weighing several factors, national exposure, the possibility for a large nonconference schedule and geographic/travel considerations among them.

Boston University athletic director Mike Lynch was on hand for the announcement, and headed a committee that looked into the expansion of the conference. After months of deliberation, the committee decided to extend an offer to Notre Dame to become Hockey East’s 11th member.

“We think we’ve made a great move in the right direction,” Lynch said, “and we are thrilled to welcome Notre Dame to Hockey East and look forward in many great years together in our conference.”

The committee took its time with the process, Lynch noted, to be sure it was making the right decision.

“We’re not going to be quick just to add for the sake of adding,’” Lynch said. “We wanted to find the right partner.”

On a similar note, Lynch also said Hockey East won’t necessarily be so quick to add a 12th team to even things out schedule-wise

“We’re letting the paint dry, so to speak,” Lynch said.

Boston University coach Jack Parker said it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Hockey East decided to not add a 12th team, though it would make things easier for scheduling purposes. Either way, he’s excited about the Irish because it adds another premier name to the Hockey East tradition.

“It lets the world know what Hockey East is all about,” Parker said. “If Notre Dame, who was being wooed by everybody to go to their league, chose what they thought was the best league for them, Hockey East, that’s a good feather in our cap.

“We like to see Hockey East teams vying for national championships. They’ll be adding to that for us because they’ll be vying for national championships and they’ll be doing it with a Hockey East logo on their shirt.”

Additionally, Parker was excited at the prospect of lowering the amount of Hockey East games in the team’s schedule each year in favor of several more nonconference matchups. He said this will happen whether or not Hockey East invites a 12th team.

“It’ll be good for all [Hockey East teams] to schedule nonleague competition,” Parker said. “Now it’ll be easier because the Big 10 only has six teams, the National Conference only has eight teams, they’ll be looking for games, so there’s going to be lots of games available to play.”

BU will visit South Bend, Ind. to play the Irish on Dec. 31.

This post has been updated to include quotes from Jack Parker.

One Comment

  1. There are so many reasons why this is just stupid. Geographically speaking, ND is a horrible choice. I’d rather see the addition of Harvard, Brown, or Yale (if they would every want to leave the Ivies). Even UConn would be a better choice. Their women play in HE anyway!