Frozen Victories: Adrian College Hockey’s Rise to the Top

From Adrian College Athletics


ADRIAN, Mich. — Ice Hockey has been the sport at Adrian College that everyone has become to know across the country. The success at the NCAA level and the ACHA level are hard to match. Adrian, home to seven hockey programs, saw five of their hockey teams compete in this year’s National Tournaments with four of them advancing to the national semifinals, and two of them winning National Championships. Adrian College. The Hockey School.

“Growing up in Michigan, watching hockey and playing hockey, I knew that adding a hockey program would attract students to Adrian College,” said Adrian College President, Jeffrey Docking. “My largest and most pressing responsibility at the beginning of my tenure here was to grow enrollment, and hockey seemed like a natural fit, and it has been.”

Adrian College Hockey began with NCAA hockey when the Arrington Ice Arena opened up in 2007. Shortly thereafter, Adrian added one ACHA hockey team. As time went on, Adrian added a second ACHA hockey team, and soon enough the small liberal arts college had five ACHA hockey teams on campus. Adrian College became home to NCAA men’s and women’s hockey, ACHA Men’s Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3 hockey, and ACHA Women’s Division 1 and Division 2 hockey.

“Adding ACHA hockey came to mind after students approached me after getting cut from the NCAA hockey team,” Docking said. “They asked if I would be willing to add ACHA hockey so they can continue to play, and it took off from there.”

Since its inception, ACHA hockey at Adrian College has gone on to win seven National Championships. The Bulldogs won back-to-back-to-back National Championships in ACHA Men’s Division 3 hockey from 2012-14 before earning the first Division 1 National Championship in 2018 and winning again in 2021 and 2024. The ACHA Women’s Division 1 Hockey team won its first National Championship in 2024, after previously appearing in the final-four five times since the program’s inception in 2012. The Adrian College MD1 and WD1 National Championships in 2024 also marked the first time since 2010 that the same school has won the ACHA national title at both levels in the same season.

NCAA men’s hockey won its first NCAA National Championship in 2022; the first Team NCAA National Championship for Adrian College Athletics. The 2023-24 season for NCAA men’s hockey marked its fifth NCAA Division III Frozen Four appearance. Women’s NCAA hockey has also been a success at Adrian College, appearing in three NCAA Division III Frozen Fours.

All of this success would not come without exceptional coaching. In 2024, NCAA men’s hockey head coach, Adam Krug, finished his tenth season, while NCAA women’s hockey coach, Shawn Skelly, finished his sixth season. ACHA Men’s Division 1 head coach, Gary Astalos, finished his eighth season, and ACHA Women’s Division 1 head coach, Carter Clarke, wrapped up his second season.

“When hiring coaches, I look for people that fit the culture,” Docking stated. “They’re humble, hardworking, they know what it takes to get through academically, and they know the type of player we are looking for athletically.”

The 2023-24 hockey season was one of the best for Adrian College hockey as a whole. Five hockey programs competed in their respective National Tournaments with both NCAA teams advancing to the Division III Frozen Four, and both ACHA Division 1 programs winning ACHA National Championships. Although the team didn’t advance to the semifinals, the Adrian College ACHA Women’s Division 2 team also made a national tournament appearance, capped by head coach, Maddy Maloney ’21, earning the National Coach of the Year Award in just her second season as the team’s bench boss.

ACHA Men’s Division 1 posted an overall record of 34-5 and spent most of the season ranked as the No. 2 team in the country. After earning the No. 2 seed in the National Tournament, the Bulldogs defeated No. 15 Calvin University and No. 7 Liberty University to advance to the semifinals. From there, the team defeated No. 8 Ohio University before earning a 3-0 shutout over No. 5 UNLV to capture the program’s third National Championship in the last seven seasons (no champion awarded for 2019-20 season due to COVID-19).

ACHA Women’s Division 1 had a similar story finishing the season with a 30-6-2 record and spending most of the campaign ranked No. 3 in the country. After earning the No. 3 seed for the ACHA National Tournament in St. Louis, Adrian defeated No. 10 Arizona State, and No. 7 University of Michigan-Dearborn to advance to the semifinals. The Bulldogs then took down No. 2 Midland University before topping No. 4 Minot State University to claim the national title. The ACHA Women’s Division 1 National Championship is the first National Championship by a women’s team in Adrian College Athletics history.

The NCAA women’s hockey team spent most of its season ranked No. 5 in the country and finished the year with a 28-3 record, with the help of a 16-0 undefeated season in conference play. Their championships surfaced by claiming the NCHA Regular Season Championship and the NCHA Slaats Cup Championship, which they clinched on home ice at the Arrington Ice Arena. Adrian entered the NCAA Tournament as an automatic bid where they advanced to the Frozen Four for the third time in program history. Unfortunately, Adrian’s season came to an end in the semifinals on the road against No. 1 UW-River Falls in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss.

Lastly, the NCAA men’s hockey team completed its season with a 24-7-1 record and a third consecutive trip to the Frozen Four. Adrian earned the NCHA Peters Cup after a 16-2 conference regular season record. The Bulldogs were eventually tripped up by rivals, St. Norbert College, in the Harris Cup Finals, but claimed a spot in the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid. The team that spent most of the season ranked in the top-three in the country went on to defeat UW-Stevens Point and St. Norbert to earn their way back to the Frozen Four. Sadly, the season ended in a 2-1 loss on the road to No. 2 Trinity College.

It is because of this longstanding success that Adrian College is known across the country for what they can do inside the glass. Eight of Adrian College’s eleven National Championships have come on the ice. Whether its NCAA Hockey or ACHA Hockey, it has become the norm that Adrian is hoisting a trophy at the end of the year. Adrian College. The Hockey School. The next purchase in the Arrington Ice Arena should be a larger trophy case.

(Originally published at