D1 Hockey Baby.... Time to get our asses kicked!
I think it's great, we haven't had real competion in years in D3. I think that the jump to D1 is going to be hard, but it'll bring name recognition and eventually $$$ into the school, and maybe push for other sports to go D1, or even just start up as D3, *cough*football*cough* Anyway bring on the D1 ass whoopings!
A quiick look at who we're playing is pretty exciting... Canisius.... Bring on the Daisies! RIT hockey in Buffalo too!
From the Rocester D&C
RIT's men's hockey team skates into the Division I big leagues
What's at stake?
A Division I hockey program at RIT could give the school more national notoriety and help attract students. The move could also attract future conference and NCAA playoff games to Rochester's Blue Cross Arena.
(December 15, 2004) — At long last, Rochester is getting a Division I college sports team.
Rochester Institute of Technology will announce today that it will upgrade its respected Division III hockey program to Division I, the NCAA's highest level of competition.
"Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day for the RIT family and the Rochester community,'' said RIT spokesman Bob Finnerty on Tuesday.
RIT President Albert Simone and athletic director Lou Spiotti have declined comment until today's 10 a.m. news conference at Gordon Field House, which will include representatives from the nine-team Atlantic Hockey Association.
RIT will enter the AHA over a three-year period:
2005-06: RIT will play a mostly Division I schedule but none of the games will count in the AHA conference schedule.
2006-07: RIT will become a member of the AHA but the Tigers will not be eligible for conference playoffs.
2007-08: RIT will be a full-fledged member of the conference, including playoffs.
There are no plans to elevate any other athletic programs — including women's hockey — to Division I status. That means RIT will not be able to offer athletic scholarships.
Still, the addition of any Division I program to this area will be historic. Rochester is the second-largest metropolitan area without any Division I programs, behind only Fort Lauderdale, Fla. And Fort Lauderdale is a mere 20 minutes from Miami, which has national college powerhouses in football and baseball.
RIT is a perennial Division III hockey power, with two national championships and eight Final Four appearances since 1982.
The Tigers currently average more than 1,000 fans for home games at 2,100-seat Ritter Arena.
If RIT outgrows the Ritter Arena or needs a bigger facility to host an in-season tournament, the Atlantic Hockey conference tournament or NCAA playoff games, it could easily play at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.
AHA and NCAA hockey officials visited the Blue Cross Arena on Dec. 3 and came away impressed, according to arena general manager Jeff Calkins.
There were discussions about possibly making the 11,215-seat arena the permanent home for the Atlantic Hockey postseason tournament.
"They all agreed we have the perfect facility for D-I hockey,'' Calkins said. "It also should help us (Rochester) having a host school that can push for NCAA tournament games down the road.''
The decision to make the jump to Division I represents a change in philosophy for Simone. When he was asked about the possibility in 1999, he answered, "Division I college sports violate the integrity of the university and undermine the academic mission of the university.''
In recent years, however, various students, alumni and area hockey fans have lobbied Simone to make the upgrade.
"I was a little bit hesitant at first because I really believe in the values of Division III athletics,'' said senior Todd Spevak, a senior who majors in information technology and also runs on the track team.
"Yet it's important for the university to move forward to become more nationally known. Division I men's hockey is absolutely the best sport to do it.''
RIT has about 90,000 alumni, including about 30,000 living in the Rochester area.
"It'll be good for the community, too — quality hockey for a reasonable price,'' said Spevak, who is from Hyde Park, Dutchess County.
"Rochester deserves a Division I team. And someday, it will be a proud moment to see that RIT logo at center ice for an NCAA game on national TV."
The school also has significantly upgraded its athletic facilities in the past few years, most recently opening the $25 million, multipurpose Gordon Field House, which seats 8,000, in September.
The Atlantic Hockey Association was founded on June 30, 2003, and includes nine teams: American International, Army, Bentley, Canisius, Connecticut, Holy Cross, Mercyhurst, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart.
However, Quinnipiac was accepted in August into the ECAC Hockey League and will leave Atlantic Hockey next year.
To replace Quinnipiac, the conference has been courting the Air Force Academy.
Also includes reporting by staff writer Jim Mandelaro.