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Keene State adds men’s and women’s hockey; Men from Plymouth State join KSC in Little East hockey

Keene State adds men’s and women’s hockey;  Men from Plymouth State join KSC in Little East hockey


July 24 Keene State College will add varsity men’s and women’s hockey beginning with the 2024-25 season, the college’s athletic department announced Monday.

The Owls men’s team will play in the Little East Conference starting in the 2025–26 season. The LEC will offer men’s hockey for the first time and will include incumbent Division III power Plymouth State University, which will move from the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Keene State will also offer eSports, according to the announcement.

“I am pleased to announce the launch of Keene State Owls DIII Ice Hockey and eSports,” said Keene State President Melinda Treadwell. “The decision supports the strategic enrollment and potential growth of academic programs for our college. In the case of hockey, an equally strategic benefit is that this investment supports the growing passion of our community and the future success of Keene Ice. This is exactly how a public college can sustain itself and make a positive difference to the region it shares.”

Keene State’s men’s and women’s hockey programs will initially compete as Division III independents. The men will transfer to the LEC the following year and will compete against affiliate members PSU, UMass Boston, Castleton (Vermont), Southern Maine and UMass Dartmouth who, like PSU, will also move from the MASCAC. With six member schools, the LEC could receive an automatic qualifying bid for the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The LEC’s addition of men’s hockey brings the conference’s championship offerings to 22 sports. Keene State and Plymouth State are already LEC members in many sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, and softball.

The Panthers men’s hockey team, MASCAC members since 2009-2010, has won 10 regular season titles and six conference championships in that time.

“We are excited to get to the LEC game and be an active part of so many existing rivalries,” said PSU hockey coach Craig Russell.

“It will be great for our student-athletes to be able to become more aligned with most of our other sports while also supporting them in their competitions. We are excited to join the LEC and know it will be a great opportunity to continue to grow our program.”

According to Athletic Director Marty Testo, plans are still underway to confirm a conference for the KSC women.




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