Tommies men’s hockey moving to NCHC in 2026-27

The University of St. Thomas men’s hockey team is moving to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, becoming the 10th member of the NCHC starting in the 2026-27 season.

The Tommies will continue to play in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association for the next two seasons. They have been a member of the CCHA since moving from Division III competition to Division I in 2021.

“The NCHC is among the premier conferences in all of college hockey and we are thrilled to announce our membership in 2026. The move aligns with our institutional and athletics trajectory and places the Tommies with the other Summit League hockey-playing members competing in the conference,” Tommies director of athletics Phil Esten said in a statement. “We are enthusiastic about the new strategic opportunities this will bring our University and department as we will bring new rivalries to St. Paul and compete in expanded markets nationally.”

Formed in 2011, the NCHC is one of the most competitive men’s hockey leagues in the country. The league has produced six NCAA champions since 2016, including Denver in 2024. At least one NCHC team has qualified for the Frozen Four in nine of the past 10 seasons, with multiple teams qualifying in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021.

Current members are Colorado College, Denver, Miami (Ohio), Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota, Nebraska Omaha, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan. Arizona State will become the NCHC’s ninth member on July 1 and begin conference competition in the fall..

Last season, the Tommies earned their first victory over a top-10 ranked opponent, upending future NCHC foe St. Cloud State 5-4 in the season opener. St. Thomas went on to record its best season ever, finishing second in the CCHA during the 2023-24 regular season.

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