Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lindenwood Applies for CHA Membership

Lindenwood is hoping their ACHA success translates to NCAA Division I and now, the CHA.

To the surprise of...possibly someone who isn't me, Lindenwood has applied for membership in College Hockey America for the 2012-2013 season - the same season that Penn State will join.
Robert DeGregorio, Commissioner for College Hockey America (CHA), announced today that Lindenwood University has officially submitted an application to the CHA for admission for the 2012-13 season.

“The directors have accepted the application of Lindenwood University for admission into the CHA,” states commissioner DeGregorio. “We will begin the process for admission, which will include a campus visit as soon as possible.”

“This is a great time for the CHA,” comments DeGregorio. “With the addition of Penn State, the league currently is at five members for the 2012-13 season.

"We are excited about our transition to the NCAA and honored to have the opportunity to be part of a strong women's ice hockey organization like the CHA,” states John Creer, Director of Athletics at Lindenwood. “We believe that Lindenwood will be a good fit academically and athletically. It will be a challenge moving from the CCWHA to the CHA, but it is one we are up to and excited about."

Head Coach Vince O’Mara adds, "We are very honored and excited with the news that the CHA Directors have accepted our application for membership. We are equally as excited to show the CHA and its member institutions how committed Lindenwood University is to its women's hockey program. Everyone here at Lindenwood has been working diligently to insure that our transition into NCAA membership is a successful one. We will continue our hard work to assure that with time, we will be a very competitive program for many years to come."

In February 2010, Lindenwood began the application process to elevate all its athletic programs from the NAIA level to NCAA Division II level with one of the exceptions being its women’s ice hockey program, which will be elevated to the Division I level. The Lady Lions will bring a wealth of championship experience if admitted to the CHA, as Lindenwood has won four ACHA National Championships over the last six seasons.
We knew this was coming of course. At the Penn State-CHA press conference on September 6th, DeGregorio mentioned that yet another application was incoming within two weeks, and yep, it's within two weeks.

I just wish they'd quit using that language "accepted the application" in these press releases that confused so many when PSU applied. "Lindenwood has submitted an application for CHA membership" works just fine. I think we're all safe assuming that if Lindenwood tried to submit an application and the CHA wanted no part of it, it doesn't end up on their website. At least they kept it out of the headline this time. But in case you're still wondering, even after that heavy dose of sarcasm, no, Lindenwood is not in the CHA yet. They've applied to be in the CHA, just like Penn State did in July. DeGregorio's stated goal is to make a sixth member official by December 1st, and he's also said that ideally his conference will eventually have 8-10 members, although your guess is as good as mine as to where those extra 2-4 teams are coming from.

Lindenwood has something else in common with Penn State - the ACHA. The Lady Lions have been flat-out dominant there, winning four of the 11 women's national championships in history (all in the last six years, as mentioned in the press release). That stands in contrast to the Lady Icers' sometimes uneven history, although PSU was highly competitive in three meetings with LU last October, with 2-0 and 2-1 losses sandwiched around a 6-1 defeat.

While Lindenwood, located just outside St. Louis in St. Charles, MO, might be considered a geographic outlier in the New York and Pennsylvania conference, there's little doubt that LU's commitment to athletics and track record of success makes them a solid add. Lindenwood, naturally, got sick of toying with the ACHA and elevated their program to NCAA Division I for this season, although they won't be eligible for NCAA postseason play for three seasons. That ban doesn't include the CHA tournament however, where I'm sure they - along with Penn State - have every intention of breaking Mercyhurst's death grip on the conference.

3 comments:

  1. Is Lindenwood moving their men's hockey team to the NCAA too?

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  2. Nope. They're staying put. They'd probably have a hard time finding a conference anyway.

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  3. In the short term, the men's team is staying put in the ACHA. However, with the momentum their athletic department has and with the fact that they already treat it as a varsity program (but for the fact that it's not), I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see that change at some point.

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