The American Collegiate Hockey Association has approved the University of Jamestown for Division One.
The ACHA, now celebrating its 25th season of existence, is an organization of over 430 college and university affiliated programs, which provides structure, regulates operations and promotes the quality of collegiate ice hockey. The ACHA’s primary mission is to support the growth and development of collegiate hockey programs nationwide. The ACHA identifies standards, which serve to unite and regulate teams at the collegiate level.
“We are very grateful for the positive response from the ACHA Men’s Division 1 membership and our goal is to build an outstanding program beginning with our inaugural season in 2016-17,” said University of Jamestown Director of Athletics Sean Johnson. “This is a critical step in establishing our program which began as an idea generated by our students, was supported by our administration and board of trustees and resulted in our ability to hire a great coach in Dean Stork. Our next step is to recruit the best student-athletes who will represent our university and our community in a positive manner.”
“We are thrilled to officially become ACHA members,” said University of Jamestown men’s hockey coach Dean Stork. “It creates a great opportunity for our student-athletes to compete on a national level. It give us the opportunity to put the University of Jamestown on the hockey map. It will help us with scheduling and recruiting and signals that we are building a legitimate hockey program.”
The ACHA includes Men’s Division 1, 2, and 3 and Women’s Division 1 and 2. National Rankings are posted monthly, with National Tournaments held for each division. In addition, the ACHA sponsors national awards for individual athletic performance and represents USA Hockey at the World University Games, held every two years.
There are currently 58 teams in ACHA Men’s Division 1, competing in 7 different leagues.
The University of Jamestown will initially compete as an ACHA Division 1 independent joining fellow North Dakota school Minot State. Other ACHA Division 1 schools in the upper Midwest include Iowa State and Midland University (Neb.).
Other Division 1 schools within the ACHA include the University of Alabama, University of Arizona, University of Arkansas, University of Colorado, Colorado State University, University of Illinois and the University of Oklahoma.
“There are a lot of great coaches, players and programs in the ACHA,” said Stork. We will have to be competitive right out of the gate to gain credibility within the ACHA. I think they will be impressed with our institution, our campus and facilities. We are a hidden gem. The ultimate goal is to gain conference membership which will take us time. It helps having Minot State as a partner in scheduling and that should develop into a great rivalry.”
Over the past thirteen seasons, 11 different schools have won the ACHA Men’s Division 1 National Championship including Illinois (2), Lindenwood (2), Arizona State, Central Oklahoma, Davenport, Delaware, Minot State, Oakland, Ohio, Penn State, and Rhode Island.
The University of Jamestown will play its home games at John L. Wilson Arena and the program will play its first regular season game in October of 2016.