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NCAA Women's Hockey: CHA granted automatic bid for NCAA Tournament

All four women's conferences now have an automatic bid.

Matt Dewkett

Although it took over a decade, College Hockey America finally has an automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Hockey Tournament.

"Our teams and coaches have worked very hard to be recognized nationally. I congratulate the teams and coaches in the CHA and I am very thankful to the NCAA for awarding the CHA the automatic bid," said CHA Commissioner Robert DeGregorio about the 2015 bid, which will go to the 2015 College Hockey America conference tournament champion.

The conference, which has been sponsoring women's hockey since 2002-03 (long after the men's side dissolved after the 2009-10 season), has seen several changes. Mercyhurst remains the sole original CHA member. Several teams were added and dropped over the years to keep the number of teams at four.

That changed in 2012 when Lindenwold, Penn State and RIT joined  the Lakers, Syracuse and Robert Morris to put the CHA at its present six teams, which is the bare minimum for a conference to receive an automatic bid.

Prior to Thursday's announcement, the CHA was the only Division 1 hockey conference without an automatic bid. Despite being without one, Mercyhurst has been in every NCAA Tournament since 2004-05, including a runners-up finish in 2008-09.

The 2015 NCAA Women's Hockey Tournament will be played from March 14, 2015 (quarterfinals) to March 20-22, 2015 with the Frozen Four at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota.