UMass and AIC skate into status among NCAA hockey’s elite

UMass Hockey James Alexander Michie

No longer a cellar-dweller in powerful Hockey East, the UMass hockey team captured the league's regular season title and is a legitimate contender for the NCAA championship. American International College is also in the 16-team field for the first time in the Springfield school's history.

Both UMass and AIC enter the status of the NCAA hockey elite. In their own way, the paths of the hockey teams of the University of Massachusetts and the American International College are among the most compelling stories of all NCAA Division I sports.

It is necessary to say that for UMass and AIC, inclusion is a culminating moment for the programs that overcame the sad stories to join the elite.

There is no doubt that for hockey fans in the region they should feel really proud and excited, as each school enters the highest university level of the sport and prepares to skate with the best of the nation.

Teams that join the elite

For UMass, the anticipation of Sunday’s general announcement followed a season in which the Minutemen captured the regular-season championship of the mighty Hockey East, a league traditionally dominated by Boston College, Boston University and other schools. New England with much longer and richer hockey traditions.

While for AIC, joining the tournament field of Division I is also remarkable. The Yellow Jackets are a Division II sports school, but since the NCAA sponsors hockey only in Division I and Division III nationally, the Yellow Jackets have been a Division I mat for decades.

Even so, it has been said that both programs have strong recruitment profiles. They are built to last. This year’s success does not taste like a one-time contract for anybody. However, for both the UMass and the AIC, the 2018–19 season will be remembered as special and a breakthrough, no matter what happens on the way to the 2019 Frozen Four.

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Source: The Republican Editorials | Mass Live

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