Bryn Athyn College Men’s Hockey Program Joins NCAA Division III
Bryn Athyn College Hockey announces their long awaited move to NCAA Division III varsity status, to take place in 2017-18. Head coach Andrew Burke leads this successful program to the NCAA as part of a natural progression, coinciding with the celebration of Bryn Athyn’s 50th anniversary of hockey this year.
Bryn Athyn College Director of Athletics, Matthew Kennedy, says, “We have been very successful in building our hockey program up over the past few years. Much of that success is directly attributable to our head coach Andrew Burke. He puts in countless hours on the road recruiting in the NAHL, OJHL, EHL USPHL and others. There is no doubt in my mind, as a former NCAA player at UMASS-Boston, that Andrew is the coach to take us to the next level.”
Head coach at UMass Boston, Peter Belisle, iterates this support for Burke: “I am so proud and happy for Andrew in taking over his first collegiate program. He was the ultimate hard worker, team player and a great student while at UMass Boston. When he came in we were still very much in the cellar, and his class helped propel us to new heights and played a huge part in where we are now. Throughout his time at UMass Boston Andrew constantly served as a role model for his teammates and it’s no surprise that he’s had continued success in the hockey world.”
And Burke couldn’t have found a better home than Bryn Athyn. With its long hockey history and a deeply committed fan base behind them, the lions have shown their mettle time and time again in the ACHA Division 3, advancing to the national tournament for the past two years with Burke at the helm. Matthew Kennedy adds, “The move to varsity hockey is certainly exciting for our college community. A lot of people outside of our campus do not know the pride we have for the story of hockey at Bryn Athyn College. We even have a former student that played in the NHL, and multiple graduates who play professionally abroad.”
During the winter months, when you would expect community members and students to be tucked away in their homes or residence halls after a day of work or study, you can find them instead at the hockey rink wearing gloves and puffy coats, cheering on the lions. Coach Burke says, “It’s incredibly unique to have our own hockey rink right on campus. Most DIII schools don’t have that. In fact, we’ll be the only DIII school in Pennsylvania with a rink on campus. It’s not only logistically beneficial for us, but it has kept our fan base especially connected to the team, and that creates a really special energy for the hockey program.”
The addition of men’s hockey to the athletic line-up will fill out a balanced list of seven men’s sports and seven women’s sports for Bryn Athyn at the NCAA DIII level. The fans are wildly excited about the move to NCAA Division III and look forward to the transition, slated to take place in the 2017-2018 season.