RIT Women’s Hockey has been celebrating this past week, and rightfully
so: They just won the NCAA Division III title for the first — and last
— time. On Tuesday, March 20, only a few days after winning the
championship, RIT officials announced that the team would be moving
up to Division I for the 2012-2013 season, and for the foreseeable future.
Commissioner Robert DeGregorio of College Hockey America, a
conference Women’s Hockey will now compete in, says he expects the
team to hold its own ground and be immediately competitive: “We are
very excited to have RIT join College Hockey America,” DeGregorio said.
“They have had a very successful women’s ice hockey program at the
Division III level, and it is only fitting for them to elevate their women’s
program to Division I.”
RIT President Bill Destler agrees: “We’ve been ultra-competitive at
Division III. It’s time to take the next challenge.”
The RIT Women’s Hockey team joins the Men’s Hockey team as the
only Division I teams in Rochester. The spot for the RIT team opened
as Niagara, a former member of the D1 conference, announced it would
be dropping its women’s hockey program. The RIT team is permitted to
be fully involved for the next season, and will be playing 20 conference
games with the other five members. There will be two home and two
away games with each other member. The RIT team had been expecting
to play an independent schedule, and considers this a bonus.
This past year, RIT Women’s Hockey finished the season with a
28-1-1 record, which set the Division III record for most wins in a