TROY, Mich. – (November 8, 2018) – The American Collegiate Hockey Association announced today that the governing body for non-varsity college hockey in the United States will debut a new seven-team Men’s Division I conference, Midwest College Hockey, with the start of the 2019-20 season.
The MCH will begin play next season with the following seven charter member teams:
- Illinois State University (Normal, Ill.)
- Lindenwood University-Belleville (Belleville, Ill.)
- Maryville University (St. Louis, Mo.)
- McKendree University (Lebanon, Ill.)
- Midland University (Fremont, Neb.)
- Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, Ill.)
- Waldorf University (Forest City, Iowa)
“We are excited to return the ACHA in 2019-20,” Midland head coach Jason Cirone commented. “We feel this is the right move for our program moving forward, joining the new conference that will feature quality programs in our region. We are familiar with a few of the teams from our previous time with the ACHA and also currently in the NAIHA.”
Illinois State, which currently plays at the Division I level as an independent, will join Maryville, McKendree and Northern Illinois, which are playing in Division II and have been approved by the ACHA to elevate to Division I beginning with the 2019-20 season.
With the new alignment, the schools of Lindenwood-Belleville, Midland, and Waldorf have been approved to rejoin the ACHA next season at the Division I level.
During the first year of ACHA Men’s Division I play, each MCH team will play a 20-game regular season conference schedule, except for Illinois State (which will play a 16-game regular season conference schedule due to existing scheduling commitments). The MCH Regular Season Champion in 2019-2020 will be determined using winning percentage due to the uneven number of conference games played by conference members. The MCH will receive an auto bid beginning with the 2020-2021 season.
In subsequent years, all MCH teams will play a 20-game regular season conference schedule and the MCH Regular Season Champion will be determined on a points basis.
The MCH Playoff Tournament will be held at the conclusion of the MCH regular season in late February/early March 2020. The MCH Playoff Tournament format will have three games on Day 1 (2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, and 4 vs 5), two games on Day 2 (1 vs lowest seeded Day 1 winner, highest seeded Day 1 winner vs next highest seeded Day 1 winner) and a Championship game on Day 3. Maryville University has tentatively agreed to host the inaugural MCH Playoff Tournament due to its centralized location in St. Louis and rink availability.