ECAC Hockey has played the role of both a leader and pioneer for over three decades that NCAA Division I women's hockey has been in existence. This became even more evident over the last four season as Clarkson has claimed two national championships (2014 & 2017) becoming the first team from outside the Western Collegiate Hockey Association to win the NCAA women’s ice hockey national title.
Home to the premier Division I league in the nation, ECAC Hockey boasts a history that gleams with accomplishments. From individual honors to contributions on the international stage, the league and its players and coaches have set a high standard for excellence in the game. League student-athletes have earned All-America honors nearly 100 times, claimed 37 Olympic Gold Medals, and have won the Patty Kazmaier Award 10 out of the 17 years it has existed as the designation of the nation's top player. Membership in ECAC Hockey has changed to meet the needs of the exploding collegiate sport as 24 teams have called ECAC Hockey home since the first championship was contested in 1984. The league's current roster of teams includes some of the most storied programs in the nation: Brown, Clarkson, Colgate, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Quinnipiac, Rensselaer, St. Lawrence, Union and Yale.
Brown holds the distinction of being the oldest women's hockey program in the nation and celebrated its 50th anniversary during the 2013-14 campaign. The first Bears squad took to the ice in the fall of 1963 and the program has remained a leader ever since. Brown has produced several Olympians, amassed 468 wins in 50 seasons, and has twice represented the ECAC Hockey in national title games. Most of those victories have been under the watch of coach Digit Murphy, who posted a 318-244-57 record during 22 seasons. The Bears have advanced to the national championship tournament four times, most recently facing Minnesota Duluth in the championship game of the 2002 NCAA Women's Frozen Four. In April of 2015, Robert Kenneally became the fourth head coach in Brown's women's hockey history. In the last game of the 2016-17 season, Brown beat Harvard for the first time since 2002, with a final score of 3-1. The team also completed a sweep of Dartmouth since the 1999-00 season. Senior goaltender, Monica Elvin was selected Second Team All-Ivy after finishing with a .925 save percentage in 10 games played.
The 2003-04 season was the inaugural year of women's ice hockey at Clarkson. Under the tutelage of head coach Rick Seeley, the Golden Knights earned a spot in the league's playoffs in their ECAC Hockey debut, finishing the regular season slate in eighth place. April 8, 2008, Clarkson University Women's Hockey ushered in a new era with the appointment of Shannon and Matt Desrosiers as the new co-head coaches of the Golden Knights Women’s Hockey team. The Golden Knights produced a historic season for the school’s program by claiming a national championship in 2014. Clarkson would take home their second national championship in 2017 after a new program record of 32 wins, ending the season on the nations longest win streak of 11 games and unbeaten streak of 16 games. The Golden Knights captured their first ECAC Hockey Tournament Championship as well as their third ECAC Hockey Regular Season title. Senior captain Cayley Mercer (28 G, 34 A), was named USCHO Divison I Women’s Player of the Year, as well as one of the final three nominees of the Patty Kaz Award. Mercer, along with fellow Senior Savannah Harmon, were honored by the American Hockey Coaches Association with 2017 CCM Division I Women’s Hockey All-American accolades.
Colgate joined the Division I league in 2001-02. Scott Wiley resigned from his position as head coach during March, 2012. During his 10 seasons as the head coach of the Raiders, Wiley recorded an overall record of 137-174-34, including a 19-14-3 mark during the 2008-09 season. Entering his fifth season has head coach of the Radiers, Greg Fargo led Colgate to a second straight 22 win season, as well as 13 wins in ECAC Hockey play, which is the most since the 2006-07 season. The Raiders ended the season with tough competition, facing three of the top ten teams in the country, in Clarkson, St. Lawrence and Cornell, giving each a hard fought outing. Livia Altmann highlighted the freshman class, as she participated in 2018 Olympic qualifiers for Team Switzerland during the year.
Cornell also boasts a storied history after beginning its program in 1971. Since that time, the Big Red has accumulated 557 victories in 46 seasons. The program notched its 550th win this past season with a 2-1 win over Clarkson in January. The team became the eighth Division One program to garner 550 wins. Big Red alum and head coach Doug Derraugh will enter his 12th season behind the bench in the upcoming 2016-17 season. Taking a program that won just four games in the season prior to his arrival, Derraugh guided the Big Red to the national title game in his fifth season and back-to-back-to-back NCAA Frozen Four appearances in 2010, 2011 and 2012, completely turning around the culture of the women’s hockey program at Cornell. Derraugh has a 189-112-24 record as the head coach of the Big Red, leading the team to 20-win seasons, the past six of eight years. Cornell has made the ECAC Hockey Tournament each of the last ten seasons, and returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2013-2014 season, falling to eventual National Champion, Clarkson University in the quarterfinals. Derraugh and the Big Red also recaptured both the Ivy League Championship as well as the ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year, both in which he previously won in 2013.
Laura Schuler was named the head coach of the Dartmouth women's hockey team in April of 2016 after spending the 2015-16 season at the helm of the Canadian national women's hockey team. She became the program's ninth head coach in nearly four decades. Alumna Laura Stacey was named the CWHL Rookie of the Year after her stellar campaign with the Brampton Thunder. Senior goaltender Robyn Chemago and Senior forward Kennedy Ottenbreit were both recognized by the Ivy League as a second team member and honorable mention, respectively. Dartmouth produced three members of its Class of 2006 which all surpassed the 150 point-mark in their careers: Katie Weatherston (185), Cherie Piper (165) and Gillian Apps (158). In addition the program has produced eight Olympians, who combined for 12 Olympic appearances (nine gold medals and two bronze medals) and five all-americans (six honors).
Harvard has been one of the elite programs in both in the league and nation since its rise to prominence in 1981-82, when the fourth-year varsity program posted a 15-6 record and won its first Beanpot Tournament. Current coach, Katey Stone, began in 1994, and has since guided the Crimson to some of their greatest moments, including a 33-1 record along with ECAC Hockey and AWCHA championship titles in 1999, seven NCAA Tournament appearances, and NCAA Frozen Four appearances in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005. In the 2013-14 season, Harvard reach the NCAA tournament for the tenth time in program history. The Crimson won ten ECAC Hockey championship titles with their last coming in 2009. Stone has became the winningest coach in the history of Division I women’s hockey, amassing 402 victories over the course of her storied career. To date, the Harvard program has produced six Patty Kazmaier Award winners, including 2008 recipient Sarah Vaillancourt. Stone became the first head coach to win 450 games after a 2-0 win over Union College on 2/10/17, ending the season with 451 overall out of Harvard’s total of 633 program wins.
Princeton has sponsored women's hockey since 1979, and in that time the Tigers have participated in the ECAC Hockey tournament 15 times. The program's matched their best finish since 2006 this past year when the Tigers won 20 games, garnering fourth place for the post-season, and advanced to the league semifinals, losing to eventual National Champion, Clarkson. The longest tenured women’s hockey coach at Princeton Jeff Kampersal has spent 21 seasons at the helm leading it to four top-three ECAC Hockey finishes and five 20-win seasons. Senior Kelsey Koelzer was once again named as a top-10 candidate for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which was named after the 1986 Princeton graduate who died of a rare blood disease in 1990. Following the end of the Tigers season, Koelzer signed a contract with The New York Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League, where she was the top pick in the 2016 NWHL draft.
Cassandra Turner entered her second season as head coach for Quinnipiac following a record setting first year as head coach. In the 2015-16 season, Turner led the Bobcats to 30 wins, a program record, as well as hosting the first NCAA tournament game in school history. The 30 wins set a NCAA Record for wins in a first-year women’s ice hockey head coach at any level. Following a 21-win season, the Bobcats have now won at least 20 games in the past six of seven season. Quinnipiac would see their season end much shorter than it had the past two years after taking No. 8 ranked Princeton to three games in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals after winning game one in a thrilling triple overtime. During the course of the season, the Bobcats were constantly ranked in the top-ten nationally. Senior defenseman Taryn Baumgardt was honored as an ECAC Hockey Third Team All-League selection.
Rensselaer entered its 11th season as a full-fledged member of ECAC Hockey. The Engineers are led by head coach John Burke, who has accumulated a record of 184 wins Burke led Rensselaer to its most successful Division I season in 2008-09 as the Engineers finished as the conference’s runner-up at the league tournament after defeating Princeton in the quarterfinals and beating Harvard in the semifinals with a 3-2 overtime victory to advance to their first championship appearance. RPI returned to post season action for the second straight year this season, falling to eventual National Champion, Clarkson, in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals. The Engineers have accumulated at least 10 wins in four of the last five seasons.
St. Lawrence has had intercollegiate hockey since 1979. In 1993-94, the Saints joined the Division I women's league and made the playoffs in 1995. Three seasons later, 1997-98, the Saints officially became a Division I program. In 2001, St. Lawrence recorded the first win in the first NCAA Women's Frozen Four, and advanced to the national championship game. The Saints had a breakout season this past year, finishing in second place in ECAC Hockey, as well as 26 overall wins, which was the most of head coach Chris Wells tenure at St. Lawrence, and the most for the Saints since the 2007-08 season. In his 9th season at the helm, Wells picked up his 150th victory, in the second game of the season with a 6-5 victory over Northeastern. The number two finish in league play was the best for St. Lawrence since 2008-09. For the first time since 2011-12, the Saints returned to the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid, but eventually fell to Boston College in the quarterfinals. Senior forward Brooke Webster and Junior Kennedy Marchment joined the Saints 100-point club this year, with Webster also joining the 50-goal club. Both were nominated as a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kaz Award. Webster was also named a 2016-17 Women's CCM Hockey Division I Second Team All-America honoree by the American Hockey Coaches Association.
The 2016-17 season was Union’s 14th as a member of the league and first under new head coach Josh Sciba. Sciba, who was announced as the new head coach for the Dutchwomen on May 13, 2016, served as the assistant coach at Colgate from 2012-2016. He became the fourth head coach in the history of Union College Women's Hockey. Sciba led Union to their best record since 2013-14 and picked up their first win in ECAC Hockey play since the 2014-15 season with a 3-2 overtime victory over Harvard on 1/14/17. First year goaltender Kate Spooner was awarded with two ECAC Rookie of the Week Awards, as well as defense Abby Ellis and forward Haley Shugart taking home the award during the season. Alumnae forward Kelly Babstock of the Connecticut Whale and defender Ashley Johnston of the New York Riveters were chosen to take part in the NWHL’s 2017 All-Star Weekend.
Yale welcomed a new era into women’s hockey on July 28, 2010, as Joakim Flygh, who had been to the NCAA Tournament in five of the previous six seasons as an assistant coach at Harvard and Minnesota-Duluth, was named head women’s ice hockey coach. In his seventh season, Flygh led the Bulldogs to a third straight year with at least 10 wins as well as their best finish in conference play since 2014-15. Yale returned to post season action, but ultimately fell to nationally ranked St. Lawrence in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs had an impressive run of five straight league wins from 1/20/17 through 2/3/17, which included a sweep of Brown and a 3-1 win over Princeton. Senior forward Phoebe Staenz will join Colgate’s Atlmann on Team Switzerland as she will compete in the IIHF Women World’s Championship, marking the sixth time she has played in the World Championships. Staenz was also named to third team All-ECAC Hockey, as well being named to first team All-Ivy League. Teammate and defenseman was named to the All-Ivy League second team. Alumna Paige Decker, along with two other ECAC Hockey alumni, created the Headway Foundation in order to help athletes with concussion protocol and prevention. ECAC Hockey and the Headway Foundation teamed up to raise almost $7,000 in just one weekend with all ECAC Hockey teams participating.