|About Hockey East|
|About Hockey East|
HOCKEY EAST CELEBRATES IT'S 38TH SEASON IN 2021-22
The Hockey East Association enters its 38th season on the ice in 2021-22 as it has consistently proven as the strongest NCAA Division I college hockey conference from top to bottom, boasting 118 NCAA Tournament berths, more than any other conference since Hockey East’s inception. More recently, Hockey East led the way at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft where more of its athletes, current and committed, were chosen than any other conference once again. In 2021, the University of Massachusetts captured its first-ever NCAA National Championship, the league’s 10th national crown.
Hockey East has seen a steady rise to prominence since its founding charter on July 11, 1983, when the possibility of an apparent Ivy League departure threatened the ECAC. In response, the athletics directors from Boston College, Boston University, New Hampshire, Northeastern and Providence unveiled a new Division I men’s ice hockey conference. Together, Bill Flynn of Boston College, John Simpson of Boston University, Andy Mooradian of New Hampshire, Joe Zabilski of Northeastern and Lou Lamoriello of Providence launched Hockey East with Lamoriello assuming the role of the league’s first commissioner.
Later that summer, the Board of Directors added the University of Maine and the University of Lowell (now UMass Lowell). Official conference competition of the seven-team league began with the 1984-85 season. Soon after, the league expanded to nine teams with the additions of Merrimack College (1989) and the University of Massachusetts (1993). The entry of the University of Vermont for the 2005-06 season raised the conference membership to 10 teams before the University of Notre Dame was accepted as the league’s 11th member on October 5, 2011. The Fighting Irish started Hockey East play in 2013-14, the season before Hockey East’s newest program, the University of Connecticut, began play.
Hockey East has set new competitive standards for college hockey success, annually compiling an impressive collective winning percentage against non-conference opponents, including a record .705 during the 2002-03 season and a .669 win percentage during the 25th anniversary season of 2008-09. Since its inception in 1984, Hockey East has sent 118 teams to the NCAA Tournament, more than any other conference in that span. Over the last 25 years, Hockey East has cemented itself as the nation’s elite college hockey league, having earned 37 of the 104 berths in the NCAA Frozen Four and boasting ten NCAA title winners: the University of Maine in 1993 and 1999, Boston University in 1995 and 2009, Boston College in 2001, 2008, 2010 and 2012, Providence College in 2015, and Massachusetts in 2021.
In its most impressive NCAA postseason showing, Hockey East boasted three of the four Frozen Four participants in 1999, as Maine triumphed over UNH, 3-2, in overtime in an All-Hockey East final, the second time in five seasons that had occurred. Hockey East has sent three teams to the NCAA Tournament in marking 18 times in the last 19 seasons that three or more Hockey East teams have qualified. In 2015, two of those squads, Boston University and Providence, clashed in the NCAA title game at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Hockey East has proven to be an equally strong presence off the ice and in the classroom. League athletes continue to demonstrate their commitment to overall excellence, as the Hockey East All-Academic Team honored a record 187 student-athletes for outstanding academic achievement during the 2020-21 academic year, including 18 players with perfect 4.0 GPAs during a COVID-challenged academic season.
Hockey East athletes also make a positive impact on many community service programs across the region, volunteering with youth hockey associations and community service organizations. Six Hockey East athletes have received the prestigious Hockey Humanitarian Award, while 10 others have been finalists for the honor, most recently Notre Dame’s Anders Bjork and Merrimack’s Collin Delia in 2017.
However, it is the quality of its individual players as leading athletes that most sets Hockey East apart from the rest. Eleven Hockey East players have won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top player in college hockey, most recently Massachusetts’ sophomore defenseman Cale Makar in 2019, the first Minuteman to claim the nation’s highest individual honor. Dozens more have been named as finalists and hundreds of other Hockey East players have moved on to play in the NHL.
A total of 737 Hockey East student-athletes have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft in the 37-year history of the league, and 94 Hockey East alumni appeared on NHL rosters in 2020-21, more than any other college hockey conference. Annually, nearly one-third of all college hockey alumni that play in the NHL skated in Hockey East.
An impressive showing at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, one which saw 17 current players and recruits selected in the 2021 National Hockey League Entry Draft was once again the most of any college hockey conference and represent nearly one third of the 56 NCAA players and recruits chosen.
The draft concluded a record-breaking 2020-21 NHL season for Hockey East alumni. The Hockey East Association was once again the most well-represented college hockey conference in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as 108 league alumni, including 54 players, entered the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Each of the 16 NHL clubs that qualified for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs boasted at least one Hockey East alumnus on roster. Last season nearly 100 Hockey East alumni appeared in at least one NHL game, comprising nearly a third of the over 300 NCAA alumni who appeared in the NHL this season.
The 2021 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning won with the help of three league alumni, including Vermont forward Ross Colton (2016-18), who scored the championship-winning goal. In addition, the Lightning employ Boston College’s Stephen Gionta (2002-06) as a pro scout and New Hampshire’s Brian Putnam (1993-97) as an amateur scout in its front office.
The reach of Hockey East continues to grow as new state-of-the-art facilities are constructed, increasing capacities and amenities for college hockey fans. In turn, fans have responded with over one million spectators coming out to watch Hockey East teams during each of the past 15 years outside, except for 2020-21 when fans were not allowed in buildings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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