LEC Announces Men’s Ice Hockey as Conference’s 22nd Championship Sport

7/24/2023 12:00:00 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Little East Conference (LEC) Commissioner Pamela S. Samuelson announced the LEC will begin sponsoring men’s ice hockey as a championship sport beginning with the 2025-26 academic year. The addition of men’s ice hockey raises the LEC’s championship offerings to 22 sports.
The Conference’s ability to sponsor men’s ice hockey follows Keene State College’s addition of men’s and women’s ice hockey as varsity programs. LEC bylaws require sport sponsorship once six programs are offered by its primary membership, which allows the LEC to secure an immediate automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
“We are very excited to begin offering men’s ice hockey as a LEC Championship, and hope to soon be able to offer a women’s ice hockey championship as well,” said Samuelson. “Being able to bring additional sports offered by our primary members into the LEC strengthens our conference as a whole, allowing us to provide more student-athletes the same highly competitive experiences as their peers in existing LEC sports.”
The inaugural season of LEC men’s ice hockey will be played between Keene State, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, Plymouth State University, University of Southern Maine and Vermont State University Castleton. The triple-round robin schedule will fill 15 games of each team’s 25-game regular season slate.
The 2025-26 launch of LEC men’s ice hockey will allow existing programs to fulfill obligations to their current affiliate conferences. This marks the third expansion of sport offerings by the LEC in recent years, following the addition of men’s golf and men’s swimming & diving for the 2021-22 academic year.
Keene State will sponsor the fifth women’s ice hockey program among the LEC’s current primary membership, joining established programs at UMass Boston, Plymouth State, Southern Maine and VTSU Castleton. The process to add women’s ice hockey as a LEC championship sport will begin if a sixth program emerges from within or outside of the LEC’s primary membership.