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Plymouth State Men’s Ice Hockey to join new conference

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Beginning with the 2009-10 winter season, the Plymouth State University men's ice hockey program will belong to a new conference.

            Plymouth State and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth will join the five hockey-playing members of the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference to form a seven-team conference, beginning with the 2009-10 campaign. The MASCAC now has five men's ice hockey programs in its new conference alignment, with Westfield State College, which reinstated the sport after a 20-year hiatus, joining Fitchburg State College, Framingham State College, Salem State College and Worcester State College.  The conference office announced this week that ice hockey would become an official MASCAC sport, joined by PSU and UMD a year from now.

            All seven schools will continue to compete in the Eastern College Athletic Conference for the 2008-09 season.  All but Salem State will stay in the ECAC Northeast Conference, while Salem State will again play in the ECAC East.

            "We are excited to announce the addition of men's ice hockey as a MASCAC-sponsored sport," MASCAC Commissioner Angela Baumann said. "UMass-Dartmouth and Plymouth State University will be welcomed additions to our conference. We look forward to the opportunities this new league will provide to our member institutions and men's ice hockey student-athletes."

            Following a mandatory two-year waiting period, the MASCAC will be sanctioned by the NCAA and receive an automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III Championship beginning in 2011-12. The MASCAC last sponsored men's ice hockey for 32 years from 1971-2003.

            "We are excited to be a part of the MASCAC in men's ice hockey," said PSU Director of Athletics John Clark.  "We have always had a wonderful relationship with the schools in the MASCAC and this only strengthens that bond.  Our schools have a long history together and we often have very exciting competition in all sports, and we know that will be the case in men's ice hockey.  We look forward to another year in the ECAC and then joining the MASCAC."

            The ECAC Northeast in 2008-09 will include PSU, UMD, Framingham State, Fitchburg State, Worcester State, Westfield State, Wentworth, Curry, Johnson & Wales, Salve Regina, Becker, Nichols, Suffolk, Western New England, and Division II schools Assumption, Franklin Pierce, Southern New Hampshire, and Stonehill. 

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