By Kim Paulsen
12/10/2021 – DeKalb, IL | NIU Hockey is proud to announce the DIII Huskies will be joining the ACHA’s Northern Collegiate Hockey League (NCHL) to play Division II hockey beginning with the 2022-2023 season.
The NCHL is currently made up of two divisions, Black and Orange, and the Huskies will be joining the Orange Division next season as its sixth team. Currently, the colleges in the Orange Division* include:
- Northern Michigan University (Marquette, MI)
- Purdue University-Northwest (Northwest IN)
- Roosevelt University (Bensenville, IL)
- St. Norbert College (De Pere, WI)
- University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (Oshkosh, WI)
Currently, the colleges in the Black Division* include:
- Aurora University (Aurora, IL)
- Concordia University-Wisconsin (Mequon, WI)
- DePaul University (Chicago, IL)
- Lewis University (Romeoville, IL)
- Marian University (Fond du Lac, WI)
- Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)
**Note: The schools in each division are subject to change for the 2022-2023 season.
The NCHL will be entering its seventh year of competition during the 2022-2023 season. During its inaugural season in 2014-2015, the league featured seven founding teams.
“When we were presented the chance to join the NCHL, it was a no-brainer on our end,” NIU Hockey General Manager JC Weems said. “We can’t wait as a program to jump to this next level and be competitive from the start. We know there will be a lot of work for the players and the program, but we can’t wait to take on this challenge.”
NIU Hockey is very familiar with growing its program and making the jump into a higher division in recent years. During the 2019-2020 season, the DII Huskies became the DI Huskies as they joined the Midwest College Hockey (MCH) Conference for its inaugural Division I season.
Having the DIII Huskies become the DII Huskies and join the NCHL is another giant step in the right direction for the continued growth of the program.
“With the move to DI, we knew our sights were set on also moving to the DII level to help with recruiting and to continue the goal of improving the program,” Weems said. “This is an exciting step for the NIU Hockey program as we now have a chance to compete in a great Division II league.”
Since the 2012-2013 season, the DIII Huskies have played in the Mid-American Collegiate Hockey Association (MACHA). During their time in the MACHA, the DIII Huskies enjoyed great success as they won three consecutive Bronze Championships during the 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons.
The DIII Huskies will resume their 2021-2022 season play after winter break on January 7 and 8 as they take on Aurora University at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva.
The DI Huskies will also resume their 2021-2022 season play after winter break as they face-off in two contests against Roosevelt University at 7:15 PM on January 7 and 8 at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville.