UNIVERSITY OF MARY APPROVED FOR AMERICAN COLLEGIATE HOCKEY ASSOCIATION MEN’S DIVISION I FOR 2023-2024 SEASON
2021 National Champions Elevating from Men’s Division II
UNION LAKE, Mich. – (December 6, 2021) – The American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), announced today that University of Mary (Bismarck, ND) has been approved for Men’s Division I membership beginning with the 2023-2024 season.
Now in its fourth season of existence, the Marauders currently play at the Men’s Division II level and have a record of 18-4-2-1. In 2020-2021, the Marauders went 38-4-7, earned the No. 1 tournament seed, and won the 2021 Men’s Division II National Championship. In 2019-2020, the Marauders were 39-9-2 but the 2020 ACHA National Championships were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the first season in program history, the Marauders went 39-5-3 but were ineligible for the postseason as a first-year ACHA member.
“This is very exciting news for the ACHA and a great next step for the University of Mary hockey program and surrounding Bismarck-Mandan community,” said Craig Barnett, ACHA Executive Director.
“From a standing-room only crowd for our first game, to a national championship last spring, our community has embraced our Marauders hockey program,’ said University of Mary President Monsignor James Shea. “Our intention when we first took to the ice in 2018 was to provide scholar-athletes from our region and beyond an opportunity to compete for a university committed to competitive excellence, while also providing ethical formation in virtue and a correct understanding of the purpose of athletic competition. I am proud to say we have wildly exceeded our expectations. We look forward to the opportunities and challenges provided by competing at the highest level of the ACHA.”
“This move up in divisions is a testament to Head Coach Dan Huntley’s leadership. He not only ushered in championship caliber hockey when called upon, but to do so, he recruited young men from all over the country with grit and courage to pioneer a start-up program from scratch,” said University of Mary Executive Vice President Jerome Richter. “In just over three years, these scholar-athletes and their former teammates have taken their quest for greatness even farther through impactful service — earning the ACHA’s Community Service Award for Men’s Division II. Not only do they have a passion for hockey, but a passion for making a difference as servant leaders for the whole of life. Make no mistake, our goal is to win, but our purpose is to form our athletes to be great through virtue — like God wanted them to be. This is a championship caliber hockey program in so many ways and we look forward to continued success at the Men’s Division I level.”
“As athletic director, I am extremely proud of the growth and development of our hockey program over such a short period of time,’ said University of Mary Director of Athletics Dale Lennon. “Not only have we won a national championship, but our coaches and players did so in a way that exemplified the athletic department’s motto of ‘Greatness through Virtue’. From the very first faceoff, we have embraced all challenges and taken advantage of every opportunity. And so, it only makes sense that we take that next step and move to ACHA Men’s Division I. Go Marauders.”
University of Mary Head Hockey Coach Dan Huntley has led the Marauders to a 134-22-12-3 record during the program’s existence. Huntley was named the Men’s Division II National Coach of the Year in both 2020 and 2021 and led the Marauders to the 2021 Men’s Division II National Championship.
“Today is a monumental day for the continued development of our hockey program,” said Huntley. “We had the goal of developing our program into a Men’s Division I program since our inception in 2018. I believe we have proved ourselves at the Division II level with unprecedented success including winning the 2021 ACHA Men’s Division II National Championship and earning the No.1 national ranking in 13 of the last 15 ranking periods.”
“I can’t thank the Division II coaches enough that welcomed our program with open arms, competed against us, became friends with me, and helped make our program better,” continued Huntley. “I would like to thank Jon Eccles for his support as the Men’s Division II Commissioner. His support of University of Mary receiving the bid to host the ACHA Men’s Division II National Championships was instrumental in continuing the overwhelming support from our campus and local community. We are proud members of the ACHA and will never forget our roots.”
“Congratulations to University of Mary Hockey on its move to Men’s Division I for the 2023-2024 season,” said Brian Moran, ACHA Men’s Division I Commissioner. “By adding another elite level team, Men’s Division I team continues to grow in quantity and quality.”
With the addition of University of Mary, there will be a total of 73 teams playing ACHA Men’s Division I in 24 states during the 2023-2024 season.
# # #