SUNY Cortland joins Northeast Women's Hockey League

Darl Zehr Photography

The five remaining NCAA Division III women's ice hockey-playing institutions that operated under the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) West banner will wave a new flag beginning in 2017-18 as the Northeast Women's Hockey League (NEWHL).

Tom Cranfield, the senior associate athletic director at Cortland and the president of the NEWHL, made the announcement on Thursday, June 15, indicating the league will begin official operations on July 1.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the growth of women's ice hockey in our region," Cranfield explained. "We want to first thank the ECAC for its commitment to women's hockey over the years and appreciate its efforts. The NEWHL will operate under the same bylaws, constitution and operating code that it has followed as the ECAC West; however, we are extremely excited to have Tom Di Camillo take over the administrative responsibilities for the conference."

Di Camillo, the commissioner of the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) and member of the NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championship Committee, will assume the commissioner duties of the five-team, single-sport conference.

The conference will consist of the five remaining institutions that comprised the ECAC West – Buffalo State, Cortland, Oswego, Plattsburgh and Potsdam – and will maintain the NCAA automatic qualifier for at least the next two years. The NEWHL will need to add at least two more schools to keep its AQ after the 2018-19 campaign.

"I am extremely excited about the opportunity to lend my experience and expertise to the NEWHL," Di Camillo said. "Our goal is to provide the best possible experience for our student-athletes."

Di Camillo brings a wealth of experience to the position. He has served on the Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championship Committee for the past two years and has been the commissioner of the SUNYAC since January of 2014. Previously, he served as the assistant commissioner for the Pacific West Conference; was the executive director of marketing, public relations and fundraising at Central Arizona College, and served as the director of sports information at West Chester University of Pennsylvania for 16 years. He was the president of the College Sports Information Directors of America in 2012.

Although Di Camillo serves as the SUNYAC commissioner, and the five SUNY institutions are full members of the SUNYAC, the NEWHL is a separate entity not affiliated with the conference. The league's website and logo will be unveiled later this summer.

The NEWHL schedule will consist of 16 games with each team playing the other teams four times – two times at home and two times away. All games are scheduled for Friday and Saturdays.

The season will culminate in a four-team tournament with the top four teams making the league playoffs in a semifinal and championship format set a week apart. The tournament champion will receive the automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship tournament.