Stonehill College, a private college in Easton, Massachusetts, about 25 miles south of Boston(or basically downtown Boston, if you’ve ever seen the B-roll footage on an NFL broadcast from nearby Foxborough) has announced that the school’s entire athletic department, including their men’s and hockey program, would be moving from Division II to Division I, joining the Northeast Conference.
Stonehill had previously announced that they were starting a women’s hockey program for the 2021-2022 season that was going to compete in the DI/DII hybrid New England Women’s Hockey Alliance. But recruiting restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Skyhawks to delay the start of the program until the 2022-2023 season. They will still compete in NEWHA next year in their inaugural season.
As for the men’s side, the Skyhawks men’s team was one of just seven men’s hockey programs remaining at the Division II level, and the NCAA longer sponsors a championship at the Division II level.
The Northeast Conference does not sponsor a men’s hockey conference, meaning the Skyhawks will likely start life as an independent program. They will become the fourth NEC school to play hockey at the D-1 level, joining fellow independent Long Island University, Merrimack(Hockey East), and Sacred Heart(Atlantic Hockey).