DEARBORN, Mich. – The University of Michigan-Dearborn will add women's ice hockey at the varsity club level for the 2018-19 academic year, it was announced Friday by the Department of Athletics & Recreation.
The women's ice hockey team plans to join the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) at the Division I level and compete against established programs such as Adrian College, Davenport University, Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University, among several others in the region and across the nation.
"The announcement of adding women's ice hockey to UM-Dearborn will bring tremendous excitement and value to the campus," UM-Dearborn Director of Athletics & Recreation Matt Beaudry said. "The sport of ice hockey is popular in our region and state, and will provide more opportunities for young women to participate in sport, while furthering their education at UM-Dearborn. We look forward to continuing the momentum and success at UM-Dearborn."
The Wolverines have sponsored men's ice hockey since the late 1970s and has a tradition of excellence dating back to numerous NAIA Final Four appearances in the early 1980s, along with recent success in the conference and ACHA National Tournament.
"Women's ice hockey at UM-Dearborn will be a tremendous addition for our campus," UM-Dearborn Men's Ice Hockey Coach Chris Haltinner said. "The growth of the women's game has been strong in our region. This team will do great things for the community and the University."
The addition of women's ice hockey brings UM-Dearborn to a total of 14 varsity programs (12 NAIA, two ACHA varsity club) following the announcement of NAIA men's and women's bowling coming to the school in 2018-19, which was announced by the institution on Thursday. The bowling and ice hockey additions come on the heels of baseball and women's soccer starting in 2017-18.
"We firmly believe participation in sport provide individuals an opportunity to achieve valuable lessons for life upon graduation, while supporting the educational community and the University's mission," Beaudry said.
Last season, 23 programs competed in women's ice hockey at the ACHA Division I level, with Miami University (Ohio) taking the 2016-17 national title in March in Columbus, Ohio.
The University will conduct a national search for a head coach immediately. The Wolverines will play their home games on campus at the UM-Dearborn Ice Arena.