WIAC news release (April 5, 2018) --
The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) announced today that Northland College will be joining the WIAC as an affiliate member in the sports of men’s and women’s ice hockey effective with the 2019-20 academic year.
With the addition of Northland College, the WIAC will have six institutions sponsoring men’s ice hockey and five institutions sponsoring women’s ice hockey to include current conference members UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout (men only), UW-Stevens Point and UW-Superior.
“We are extremely pleased and fortunate to have an institution with the outstanding academic profile and competitive ice hockey programs of Northland College join our conference”, commented WIAC Commissioner Gary Karner. “The addition of Northland College is an extremely positive development not only for Northland and the WIAC but also for the future of Division III ice hockey in the upper Midwest. The geographical proximity of Northland to the ice hockey playing members of the WIAC will result in significant savings in travel costs as well as a reduction in missed class time for all of the involved institutions,” added Karner.
“We are very excited to have our men’s and women’s hockey programs join the WIAC, and would like to thank them for this opportunity. Not only will this move be positive for hockey in the Midwest, but will geographically help Northland’s hockey programs, while considering the student-athlete time management and demands”, stated Northland College athletics director, Kim Falkenhagen.
“For our hockey programs & department it’s about moving forward,” Northland College men’s ice hockey coach Seamus Gregory said. “The WIAC is a power conference in our own backyard, it rekindles rivalries with the Wisconsin schools. We are located on Lake Superior and our fan base is more familiar with the WIAC schools. In moving to the WIAC, we will also play more colleges and universities in Minnesota, limit our travel, and strengthen our recruiting. The NCHA is a great conference, but the WIAC is a far better fit for Northland College Hockey.”
Commented Northland College women’s ice hockey coach Kelly Rider, “In the last few seasons the WIAC has become a more competitive top to bottom conference on the women’s side. In our first two seasons we’ve played two teams (UW-River Falls and UW-Superior) both years and it’s nice to have some familiarity with the conference already. It was great to follow UW-Eau Claire’s success this season and there is no reason our program cannot do the same in the near future.”
The WIAC is comprised of eight institutions from the University of Wisconsin System competing at the NCAA Division III level to include UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW- Stevens Point, UW-Stout and UW-Whitewater. The conference also has affiliate members in the sports of women’s gymnastics (i.e., Gustavus Adolphus College, Hamline University, Winona State University) and baseball (i.e., Illinois Tech).