BOSTON, Mass. – The Hockey East season was officially kicked off on Tuesday morning at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass. at the Hockey East Media Day. The 11 Hockey East schools and college hockey media gathered together to welcome in the new season.
Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna and the 10 returning schools welcomed in the newest member of the Hockey East Association, Notre Dame. Each school is excited for the Fighting Irish to join the fray and can’t wait to battle them on the ice. “[The addition of Notre Dame] makes the league even deeper,” said UMass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin. “I think it makes this league the best hockey conference in the country.”
Announced on Tuesday morning was the annual Hockey East Coaches Preseason Poll. This year, the UMass Lowell River Hawks, along with the Boston College Eagles, finished atop the list of schools with 104 points each. The River Hawks managed to get seven (7) first place votes, while the Eagles got four (4).
New Hampshire and Notre Dame tie for third with 84 points apiece, followed by Providence (79 pts.) and Boston University (67). Merrimack was selected in the seventh (7) spot with 54, followed by Maine (45) and Vermont (34). Massachusetts (32) and Northeastern (28) rounded out the remaining teams in the preseason coaches poll.
Commissioner Bertagna, along with the Big Ten conference announced the creation of the Hockey East/Big Ten Challenge. Eleven of the country’s most storied college hockey programs will compete this October. Eleven different institutions will participate in 13 designated games to be played between October 18-27, with six games in Hockey East arenas on the first weekend, followed by six games in Big Ten arenas and a single game on neutral ice on the second weekend.
“The college hockey landscape is going through a major change this season and each conference needs to look beyond its familiar boundaries,” said Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna. “We have great respect for the hockeyplaying institutions in the Big Ten and we hope to develop this concept to allow all of our programs to participate in this competition in future years.”
The seventeen schools that play in these two conferences have compiled an unparalleld record of success in the history of college hockey, combining to claim 33 national championships during the 66 seasons that the NCAA has sponsored the sport. Of the 11 schools participating in the inaugural Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge, five took part in last season’s NCAA Championship. For more information and a full schedule, click here.
This year the Joe Concannon Hockey East Media Award went to Dan Parkhurst, who is the 22nd recipient of the prestigious award. Parkhurst, who will again call UNH hockey games on television and radio for 2013-14, will also call select games for NBC Sports Network in the coming season. In addition to his broadcasting work, the 2013-14 season will mark Parkhurst’s 17th year as Hockey East’s website designer and coordinator. Read more about this year’s recipient by clicking here.
Finally, Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna announced the 2013-2014 men’s composite schedule for the league’s upcoming 30th anniversary season on Tuesday afternoon at the conference annual media day at TD Garden. The schedule features a 20-game league slate for each of the 11 member schools in addition to several highlighted non-conference matchups during the season. Find out when and where your favorite Hockey East school is playing this season, click here.
The 2013-14 Hockey East season is going to be one for the record books. With the defending champion UMass Lowell River hawks being picked as the top school in the nation by most preseason polls, it will be interesting to see how the season plays out.