The Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League has announced that it will add an eighth team for the 2022-2023 season. The University of Pittsburgh will join the conference this upcoming season. The ESCHL already expanded the league in April when they onboarded Niagara University as the league’s 7th member. The conference already had plans for each team to play one another 2 times in the regular season as opposed to the 4 game format that was used in 2021-22. The addition of Pitt means each team will now play a 14 game conference schedule leaving the opportunity to add several more non-conference opponents. The league has not yet decided on a new playoff format.
The University of Pittsburgh will join the ESCHL from College Hockey Mid-America (CHMA) – where they were the regular season champions last season going 13-0-1 in conference play. The Panthers fell to John Carroll in the CHMA conference championship game but earned an at-large bid to the 2022 ACHA National Tournament. As the #13 seed at Nationals Pitt defeated Navy in round 1 of the tournament but then fell to #4 UNLV in round 2. Pitt’s hockey program has a rich history and has experienced a high level of success in recent years. The Panthers also won their conference tournament in 2016 and were regular season champions in 2017, 2018, and 2020 – earning trips to the ACHA Nationals in each of those years. The program started in 1971 and has competed at the ACHA’s division I level since 2006
Stu Rulnick, who is ready for his 11th season behind Pitt’s bench, is ready to make the jump to a new conference.
“As a founding member of the CHMA [in 2006], it has been a difficult decision to change leagues, especially at this time of year. We feel that given the direction our program is going right now, the move to the ESCHL for Pitt Hockey is going to be a great fit.” Stu continued “We are thankful to all of the members of the ESCHL for giving us the opportunity to to play in a very competitive conference. We are very excited and look forward to a great season.”
(Originally published at http://eschl.pointstreaksites.com/view/eschl/news-1553/news_541251)