Hockey East Expansion Efforts

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Hockey East Expansion Efforts May 16, 2012 8:17 AM

The Hockey East and the University of Connecticut are in serious talks that should lead to an invitation next month for the University of Connecticut team to join the region’s top hockey conference.

With the University of Notre Dame slated to join Hockey East for the 2013 season, Hockey East has been looking for a 12th member to ease scheduling problems.

Such a move would involve a significant upgrade of the Connecticut’s hockey program. Currently scholarships are not offered to players, which would have to change, and the home rink seats fewer than two thousand, would need to be upgraded. A plan to initially play games at UConn’s XL Center is being worked on while long term goals to upgrade, or build a new arena for the team would be developed.

A study commissioned by the school and released last month put the cost of upgrading the program at about $1.3 million just in scholarships, and almost $11 million to renovate the on-campus rink. It would also cost the program about $20,000 a game to play at the XL Center, according to the report by consultant Stafford Sports.

Competing against current members including current national champion Boston College, Boston University, Maine, UMass, UMass-Lowell, Merrimack, New Hampshire, Northeastern, Providence and Vermont, would add higher visability to the program and add more traditional rivalries for all. The addition of Notre Dame will bring a national spotlight on some of the smaller schools in the conference, which should add to greater NHL scouting and player exposure.

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