Bob DeGregorio, the only commissioner in the history of the Atlantic Hockey men’s hockey conference and also commissioner of College Hockey America in women’s hockey, announced that he will be retiring following the 2022-2023 season.
In a statement, DeGregorio said:
Next season will be my 20th with Atlantic Hockey and 13th with the CHA and we’ve reached a point where the landscape of college hockey is changing rapidly. With that in mind, it is appropriate for both conferences to transition to new leadership as they address this new era in intercollegiate athletics.
The rapidly changing landscape referenced by DeGregorio is likely a looming conference re-organization that has seemed inevitable since men’s college hockey’s disastrous realignment nearly a decade ago, and is now being forced by a number of new schools starting D-1 hockey programs.
Eastern schools Long Island and Stonehill will be looking for a conference, along with Utica, who is likely to make the jump to D-1 soon. Not to mention western programs such as Lindenwood, Augustana, Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska Anchorage, and Arizona State, who all have varying levels of desperation to join any conference.
Whoever takes over for DeGregorio will have to manage who, if anyone, to admit into the 11-team conference—the re-instated Robert Morris men’s program was recently accepted back into the conference for next season—or if the conference could potentially break into two separate conferences.
Regardless, whoever takes DeGregorio’s place will have some major decisions to make when they take over and will likely need to do so quickly. As DeGregorio stated in his announcement, things are going to be changing quickly in men’s college hockey and conference layouts could look very different soon.