Women’s Team Heads to Division I
Rensselaer’s women’s hockey team, which just finished one of
its finest seasons on record, continues to prove that it’s
ready for Division I status.
“Our women’s program has shown that it can compete at the
highest level in Division III, and it is time to move up,” says
President Shirley Ann Jackson.
The first-place Engineers set a new record for wins in a
season, with an overall record of 21-6-0.
This year was the final season for the women Engineers’
Division III status before moving to Division I. With its
elevation, the women’s hockey team joins the men’s program to
become Rensselaer’s second Division I sport.
The team will play as an independent in Division I next
season before joining the Eastern College Athletic Conference
(ECAC) Hockey League — the premier women’s hockey league in the
nation — for the 2006-07 season.
Plans for the move-up were announced by President Jackson in
January 2004, following the decision of the NCAA Division III
membership to allow Rensselaer and seven other institutions to
continue to offer grants-in-aid to Division I student
“By the 2008-09 season, the women’s hockey program will be
fully funded with 18 grants-in-aid and a complete coaching and
support staff,” says Ken Ralph, director of athletics.
“We’ve got a wonderful group of athletes and great team
leadership. These young women are focused and committed,” says
coach John Burke. “The women’s hockey team going into Division
I was something Bill Cahill was looking forward to, and he
would be very happy and proud.”
Bill Cahill, who passed away suddenly in October 2003,
served as the head women’s coach for three seasons. Rensselaer
set school records in wins (20) and consecutive home victories
(11) in Cahill’s final season. Cahill, who will be posthumously
awarded the 2005 Joe Burke Award for outstanding service to
women’s hockey by the American Hockey Coaches Association
(AHCA), also was named ECAC Coach of the Year in 2003 and was a
finalist for the AHCA Coach of the Year award.
Originally published in
Rensselaer Magazine, Spring 2005
Photo by Kris Qua