New CCHA men’s hockey league adds D1 newbie St. Thomas

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The newly formed Central Collegiate Hockey Association added the University of St. Thomas on Wednesday, giving the upstart conference eight teams for its inaugural 2021-22 season.

St. Thomas received NCAA approval earlier this month to move its athletic programs from Division III directly to Division I. The Tommies will take most of their teams to the Summit League, but that conference doesn’t offer football or hockey.

The CCHA was a natural fit on the ice for the Tommies, who will be the 62nd team in NCAA Division I men’s hockey. They’ll be the third team in Minnesota in the new league, joining Bemidji State and Minnesota State. The others are in Michigan (Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan) and Ohio (Bowling Green State.) The initial seven CCHA teams will play one more season in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association before departing.

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