Notre Dame hockey has found a new home. The new Compton Family Ice Arena is not the only change coming the way of the program, as Notre Dame announced today its move from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) to the Hockey East Association, effective for the 2013-14 season. Notre Dame's transfer follows in the wake of a national restructuring of the collegiate hockey conferences. The Big Ten announced in April that it would introduce its own conference in 2013-14, partly due to Penn State's new Division I hockey team. The new Big Ten conference fragmented both the CCHA and Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), taking Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State from the CCHA and Minnesota and Wisconsin from the WCHA. Hockey East was not the only conference considered by the Fighting Irish. While the Irish contemplated joining the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), the NCHC put an end to all speculation with a news release on Sunday stating it would go forward with the eight teams already committed. Hockey East includes Boston College, Boston University, Maine, Providence, University of Massachusetts, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, New Hampshire, Vermont, Northeastern and Merrimack. After a trip to the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minn., last April with a large freshmen class in tow, the Irish solidified their spot in the national picture as a perennial powerhouse. In both the CCHA coaches and media 2011 preseason polls, the Irish were given the No. 1 spot.
And for now, the Irish are comfortable in their reign.- Hilary Ferguson (Saint Mary's '12)