One day after a historic victory for the US women’s national hockey team in negotiating a new contract with USA Hockey, the sport of women’s hockey took another step with the announcement that the University of North Dakota will be cutting their women’s hockey program.
While not quite in the elite echelon of NCAA women’s college hockey programs, like Minnesota and Wisconsin, North Dakota’s program has grown in recent years to be near the top of the second tier. This year they finished with a 16-16-6 record, with seven of those losses coming to either Wisconsin or Minnesota, and was ranked around the fringe of the top-10 nationally most of the year.
Eight players from North Dakota’s team participated in the 2014 Olympics. Two current players, Anna Kilponen and Emma Nuutinen are currently participating for Team Finland at the IIHF World Championships.
Current players with eligibility remaining will be allowed by NCAA rule to transfer to a different school without having to sit out a year. Losing North Dakota drops the women’s WCHA down to seven members.