The University of Notre Dame hockey team announced today that it will become a member of the Big Ten Hockey Conference beginning in the 2017-18 season.
The Fighting Irish will become the seventh member of the Big Ten Hockey Conference that includes Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Penn State. Notre Dame will play Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this Friday in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Notre Dame is currently a member of the New England based Hockey East Conference. They are the only program in the 12-team conference located outside of New England.
Jack Swarbrick, the University of Notre Dame vice president and athletic director, released the following statement on behalf of the hockey program and the University:
“While we have enjoyed our affiliation with Hockey East, the opportunity to participate in Big Ten hockey is a compelling one from the perspective of our student-athletes. The move will significantly reduce the time our team spends traveling, increase the broadcast exposure for our program and allow us to take advantage of the natural rivalries that exist with the Big Ten schools that participate in hockey.”
Notre Dame has been a member of Hockey East since the 2013-2014 season. Next season will be the fourth and last year the Irish will be a member of the conference.
Prior to playing in Hockey East, Notre Dame spent the previous 21 seasons as a member of the now-defunct Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). Future conference rivals Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State are also former members of the CCHA.
Notre Dame has made the NCAA Tournament a total of eight times (including this season), making seven tournament appearances under current head coach Jeff Jackson. They made the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals in 2008 and 2011, and advanced to the National Championship game in 2008 with a 5-4 overtime victory over Michigan in the semifinals.