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Breaking: ACC Hockey League M1 Division

05/25/2024, 2:00pm EDT
By Sheriff

ACHA Formal Approval Paves Way for the Premier College Hockey in the Southeast

American Collegiate Hockey Association Grants the Atlantic Coach Collegiate Hockey League Conditional Approval to Add a Men’s One Hockey Division. 

The American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACCHL), and the ACHA Member ice hockey teams representing the University of Alabama, the University of Louisville, North Carolina State University, and The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have entered into an agreement to create an ACHA Men’s 1 Division Conference to start play in 2025-2026.   

The conference will be unique in its purpose as its mission will be to grow college hockey at universities in the southeast that are members of Power Five Conferences and currently do not have an NCAA team. The ACCHL is charged with creating a conference whose members meet that mission and include the following parameters: 

  • Member of a “Power 5 Conference” with historical and current athletic success, making them an NCAA athletic brand name. 

  • The top team at their university, meaning there is no NCAA team.  

  • A well-organized and fully developed ACHA program.   

  • Currently enjoys widespread fan support. 

Teams interested in and meeting these criteria should contact ACCHL Executive Director Mike Walley. 

According to ACHA Executive Director Craig Barnett: 

“As the ACHA continues to look for ways to grow and provide prospective student-athletes with opportunities to continue their hockey careers in college, we have identified a few prospects. One of the prospects is to support the ACCHL conference as they explore and pursue an ACHA Men’s Division league. The ACHA has identified certain conditions that would need to be met to comply with a Men’s Division 1 league, and we are hopeful that the ACCHL leadership group will successfully meet those conditions to provide growth in the southeast region! Currently, ACHA members of the University of Alabama and Liberty University are in that geographic location; adding a new Men’s Division 1 league with “Power 5” type members will enhance not only Men’s Division 1 but the ACHA as a whole. We are excited to follow the progress of this prospect!” 

ACCHL Commissioner Mike Walley went further, stating, “The inevitable evolution of ACC Hockey to the most competitive level of ACHA collegiate hockey is absolute proof of the growth of our game in the southeast.  With the creation of an M1 Conference in the southeast, top-tier ACHA hockey will now be in all the country's geographic regions.  Specifically, the ACC will provide a conference home to showcase the highest levels of collegiate hockey in the southeast and, in turn, will inspire an entire new generation of youth hockey players in non-traditional hockey areas who aspire to be rostered on these exceptional university ice hockey teams eventually.” 

About the ACHA 

The American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) was founded in 1991 and is the national association for Non-NCAA Collegiate Hockey throughout the United States. Our organization of more than 461 colleges and university-affiliated teams representing 48 states and 2 Canadian provinces provides a structure, regulates operations, and promotes the sport of Hockey nationwide. With approximately 13,000 players, coaches, countless volunteers, and game officials, the ACHA has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade and continues to be a viable option for college-bound student-athletes to continue playing competitive hockey nationwide. The primary mission of the ACHA is to support the growth of Collegiate Hockey while emphasizing academic performance, personal development, and opportunities for regional, national, and international competition. 

 

About the ACCHL 

Beginning play in the 1995-1996 season, The Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League is committed to providing a quality athletic environment as an integral part of the student’s overall educational experience. The ACCHL is the largest collegiate hockey conference in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, with 58 teams across five men’s and one women’s division in 14 states.  Since 2010, retired US Naval Rear Admiral Mike Walley has served as Executive Director. 

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