The University of St. Thomas announced Wednesday they are moving from Division III to Division I athletics for the 2021-22 season, and their women’s hockey team will join the WCHA.
They will be the eighth team in the conference and the 42nd Division I team.
St. Thomas, a private university, is located in St. Paul, Minn., making them the sixth team in the conference to be based in Minnesota, and the first and only private institution. The Tommies will be immediately eligible for the WCHA and national tournaments.
“The addition of St. Thomas enhances the WCHA’s regional footprint and further diversifies our incredible league,” WCHA commissioner Jennifer Flowers said in the WCHA press release. “We look forward to expanding our Twin Cities fanbase by welcoming the passionate Tommie fans. The WCHA is proud to be the women’s hockey home for the University of St. Thomas.”
Their all-time record is 357-171-52 and they have appeared in two Division III Frozen Fours.
“On behalf of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, I am pleased to welcome the University of St. Thomas to our league,” WCHA Women’s League Board Chairman and University of Wisconsin Senior Associate Athletic Director Jason King said in the WCHA’s press release.
The WCHA has not had eight teams since 2016-17 before the University of North Dakota shuttered their team.
St. Thomas’s reclassification makes them the first university to go direction from Division III to Division I in the modern era.
This is the second university to add a women’s hockey team for the 2021-22 season as Stonehill College in Massachusetts will be adding a Division II team to compete in NEWHA.