The Western Collegiate Club Hockey Association is excited to announce the addition of the University of Minnesota-Crookston Golden Eagles, to begin conference play for the 2021-2022 season.
The Golden Eagles returned to the ice this season as an ACHA Division II independent program, having previously skated as an ACHA team (2009-2010) and long-time NJCAA and NCAA program (1938-1946, 1971-2009). UMN-Crookston has finished play for the current season, amassing a 5-7-0 record that includes 3 wins over current WCCHA member University of North Dakota. Although serving their probationary year and not postseason eligible, the Golden Eagles are currently ranked #19 in the National poll.
Minnesota-Crookston will join as a full member with postseason eligibility, competiting as part of the seven-team Northwest Division alongside North Dakota, North Dakota State, St. John’s, St. Cloud State, Bethel and Minnesota-Twin Cities. To maintain the desired balanced competition and format, the University of Minnesota-Duluth will move to the Southeast Division.
“With the support of our membership, I am excited to welcome the University of Minnesota-Crookston into the WCCHA,” said WCCHA Commisioner Ryan Donovan. “The Golden Eagles have a storied hockey history that is now continuing in the ACHA. With fantastic support from the school and community, the program is poised for great things. We expect UM-Crookston to compete at a high level from the first puck drop, and along with our current members, continue to collectively raise the profile and quality of this level of hockey in Minnesota and beyond.”
“We are extremely honored to be invited to join the prestigious WCCHA as a full member,” said Director of Athletics Stephanie Helgeson. “I am very proud of the season Head Coach Steve Johnson and his team put together in our first season back on the ice. They represented the University and our athletic program well. By joining the WCCHA, we will be able to continue to grow our ACHA Division II hockey program and build on the traditions established by our NJCAA and NCAA programs in the past.”
“It will be exciting to get into a league and league play with the opportunity to compete for a league championship and the ACHA National Tournament,” said Head Coach Steve Johnson. “In addition to the great competition we will face in the WCCHA, we will also look to add 16 non-conference games next season, including competition with ACHA Division I opponents.”