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Stonehill College delays new women’s hockey team to 2022-23 season

The newest NEWHA team will wait an extra season for inaugural team.

Stonehill College announced Friday it would be delaying their inaugural women’s hockey team season until 2022-23, due to COVID-19-related recruiting restrictions.

Due to the pandemic the NCAA extended the recruiting “dead period,” making it tough to recruit for their originally planned first season in 2021-22.

“We’re obviously disappointed that we must delay the planned start of our women’s ice hockey team in the 2021-22 academic year,” said Stonehill director of athletics Dean O’Keefe in the college’s release. “However, the COVID-19 pandemic has understandably had an ongoing impact on the current NCAA Division I ‘dead period’ which significantly limits our ability to connect with future Skyhawks and build a full roster within the current recruiting cycle. Despite this pause, the College remains fully committed to women’s ice hockey as its 23rd varsity program and we are excited to spend the next two years preparing for the 2022-23 season as a proud member of the NEWHA.”

Stonehill unveiled their plans for the Division II team in December 2019. Based in Easton, Mass., they will play in NEWHA, a combined Division I and Division II conference. Franklin Pierce University, Long Island University, Post University, Sacred Heart University, Saint Anselm College and Saint Michael’s College are also in NEWHA.

Last week, the Hockey Commissioners Association officially delayed the start of the 2020-21 season.