Notre Dame hockey will move to the Big Ten conference beginning in 2017–18, the school announced Wednesday.
The school informed the Hockey East conference on Tuesday that it would depart for the Big Ten, citing travel disadvantages, according to College Hockey News. The Irish were the only team forced to travel significantly for every road game, with the other schools all located in the northeast, and Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
Notre Dame joins former CCHA league-mates Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State in the Big Ten, and faces more comfortable travel distances around the Midwest.
The Irish become the seventh member of the Big Ten hockey conference, which formed in 2013–14. Wisconsin, Minnesota and Penn State round out the league. It is the first time any of Notre Dame’s athletic programs will be affiliated with the Big Ten. Big Ten deputy commissioner Brad Traviolia told the Chicago Tribune there are no current plans to expand to eight teams.
“Notre Dame hockey has a long history of competing with Big Ten programs and we’re pleased to renew those rivalries as part of conference hockey competition,” Traviolia said in a statement. “The Big Ten continues to grow the sport of hockey in our conference and the addition of Notre Dame as a sport affiliate assists in that goal.”