Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Niagara Drops Women's Ice Hockey

Another Division I women's hockey program has fallen by the wayside. Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y. announced on Monday that it will discontinue women's ice hockey as a varsity sport.

Niagara refers to the move as a "restructuring" of the athletic department—but essentially, women's outdoor track and field is replacing women's ice hockey on the university roster. Niagara hockey student-athletes who wish to remain at the school will have their scholarships honored, or else they can transfer to another Division I school without having to endure the customary one-year waiting period for transfers.

The Purple Eagles, who finished 10-16-8 overall in 2011-12, played their final game in a 3-2 loss at Robert Morris on March 2 in the College Hockey America tournament semifinals. Freshman forward Kayla Raniwsky scored Niagara's final varsity goal.

Niagara fashioned an overall mark of 179-240-57 (.436) in 15 Division I campaigns, four in the ECAC and 11 in the CHA, after getting started back in 1998-99. The Purple Eagles, who enjoyed their best record in 2001-02 as a member of the ECAC East when they went 26-8-2 overall and made it to the NCAA Frozen Four, now join Wayne State, Findlay and MIT in the annals of defunct women's hockey programs.

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