The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) announced its first membership change in the league's 10-year history with the addition of Arizona State as the ninth program in the conference, effective July 1, 2024.
The conference shift arrives on the heels of a national surge from ASU's men's hockey program backed by its head coach Greg Powers, which has been independent since its upgrade to NCAA Division I in the 2015-16 season.
"Since the inception of NCAA Division I ice hockey at ASU, we've searched for a conference that embodies our commitment to the student-athlete experience, academics, championship performance, and elite competition," Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson said. "After a successful first season at Mullett Arena, the time is right to secure membership within a distinguished conference, and we're thrilled to join the NCHC."
ASU joins Colorado College, the University of Denver, Miami University, the University of Minnesota Duluth, the University of Nebraska Omaha, the University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University, and Western Michigan.
Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota, and Denver have all won the NCAA Men's Hockey National Championship. Denver's victory is the most recent, winning it all in 2022.
The 24-game schedule will remain the same. However, beginning with the 2024-2025 season, a new three-year rotation and scheduling model will be carried out, organizing and scheduling programs matches by geography.
The NCHC's nine-team postseason format for 2024-25 and beyond is still up in the air.
"Arizona State is recognized nationally for its innovation and academic quality," NCHC commissioner Heather Weems said. "It also brings a strong national brand, robust alumni base, and growing southwest hockey market to NCHC. I know this addition will make our conference stronger and carry on our league's tradition of fast-paced gritty hockey each night the puck is dropped."
Edited by Shane Brennan and Angelina Steel.