Women's Hockey will be an MIAC varsity sport in 1998-99!

Press Release, May 22nd 1998

A news release from the MIAC, from Don Stoner, MIAC SID (until 5/31/98)/Augsburg SID (Full-time at Augsburg after 6/1/98) ( http://www.stkate.edu/miac/whockey.html)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (5/22/98) --The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will add womens ice hockey as the 23rd sport awarded championships by the league in the 1998-99 school year, after the sport was approved for championship status at a meeting of the conferences faculty athletic representatives May 22 at Macalester College.

Previously, the leagues athletic directors recommended the sport for approval at their May 11 meeting. The MIAC will award its first championship, along with selecting an all-conference team, during the 1998-99 school year. It will be the 11th womens sport awarded championships by the MIAC.

Six MIAC colleges will offer womens hockey at the varsity level in the 1998-99 school year Augsburg College (began in 1995-96), Gustavus Adolphus College (1997-98), the College of St. Benedict (1997-98), the College of St. Catherine (1998-99), St. Marys University (1998-99) and the University of St. Thomas (1998- 99). Concordia College-Moorhead will offer womens hockey in the 1999-2000 school year, and Hamline University will offer the sport in 2000-2001. Among other MIAC schools, St. Olaf College and Carleton College also have club women's hockey programs.

Last year, the MIAC received a $440,000 grant from the United States Olympic Committee and the National Collegiate Athletic Association to develop womens hockey as a sport on the varsity level. The NCAA and USOC issued 13 grants totaling $8 million to 40 NCAA conferences and organizations to develop Olympic sports in colleges. The NCAA has identified womens hockey as a emerging sport, as nearly 40 colleges across the nation will offer it on the varsity level in the 1998-99 school year.

"In my opinion, the conference is way ahead of schedule as a result of being awarded the $440,000 grant from the United States Olympic Committee," Carter said. "The USOC grant, spread over a four-year period, coupled with the financial commitment from the conference membership, is a great opportunity for women in Minnesota to continue to compete at a higher level, in addition to the outstanding educational opportunities available at MIAC institutions."

The MIAC will be the second conference in the nation, and the first in the Midwest, to offer a championship in womens hockey. The Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) sponsors two womens hockey leagues a Division I style league for its larger varsity squads and a Division III-style alliance league for smaller varsity and club teams. The MIAC will be the first conference in the nation to offer womens hockey completely at the NCAA Division III (non-athletic scholarship) varsity level. Most MIAC schools have competed in recent years in the Midwestern Collegiate Women's Hockey Alliance, a group of varsity and club teams in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Other Midwest schools, like the University of Minnesota (started varsity in 1997-98), Minnesota-Duluth (upgrading to varsity in 1999-2000), Bemidji State (1999-2000), Mankato State (1998-99), Wisconsin-Madison (1999-2000), Wisconsin-Superior (1998-99) and Ohio State (1999-2000) are in the process of adding women's hockey as a varsity sport, making the Midwest one of the hotbeds for women's hockey in the nation.

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This page is maintained by © 1999 Andria Hunter (andria@cs.toronto.edu).

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