The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

SUNY Brockport and SUNY Geneseo set to join UCHC

Stacked NCAA pucks.
Kayleigh Sturtevant
Stacked NCAA pucks.

The men’s ice hockey programs at SUNY Brockport and SUNY Geneseo are expected to join the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) for the 2024-2025 season, increasing its men’s membership to eight teams.

“These are two great additions to our young league,” Utica’s head coach Gary Heenan said. “They are both established programs with good buildings and fan bases. This upgrades our league tremendously.”

The two schools accepted their invitation to UCHC on Sept. 6 after announcing their decision to become the 10th and the 11th members of the Empire 8 on Aug. 21.

“The UCHC is getting a complete shake up and adding these two teams will for sure enhance the competitiveness,” sophomore forward Chris Carroll said. “Our preparation as a team is what sets us apart from the schools we play and we will be ready to go when the time comes.”

Last season, Utica’s men’s hockey team was ranked No. 1 nationally. After defeating Nazareth College, the team won its fourth championship in program history and back-to-back UCHC conference titles. 

“I think that it will be great for the competitiveness of the conference as well as adding a few teams that are closer, location-wise, to us and Nazareth,” sophomore goalkeeper Avery Sturtz said. “It should also create a few more close rivalries with us playing them more frequently in the future.”

As the program’s founder, Heenan is entering his 22nd season as the program’s head coach and throughout his tenure has received numerous Coach of the Year awards.

Last season, Heenan was recognized as a finalist for the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Coach of the Year award after leading the team to a record-breaking season, which included tying the school record with 25 victories. Under his leadership, the Pioneers regularly transition players to the professional level and consistently produce All-Americans.

With new additions to the roster and conference, Heenan said his side will have a steady approach this season. 

“We are the youngest team in the country minus first-year teams,” Heenan said. “We will have to preach patience and process.” 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kayleigh Sturtevant, Multimedia Editor
Class Year: Senior Major: Sports Management Previous Position: Multimedia Editor (Fall 2023)

Comments (0)

All The Tangerine Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *