Hockey East was formed in September 2001 in response to the dawn of women's collegiate hockey as an NCAA sport. The five original members were Hockey East schools on the men's side that had formed Division I women's programs - Boston College, Maine, New Hampshire, Northeastern, and Providence. The original charter stipulated that any other Hockey East school that added a varsity women's program in the future would be freely admitted to the league.
Hockey East Tournament Champions
2006 New Hampshire
2007 New Hampshire
2008 New Hampshire
2009 New Hampshire
2010 Boston University
2011 Boston College
2012 Boston University
2013 Boston University
2014 Boston University
2015 Boston University
Rink: Conte Forum, capacity 7,884
Coach: Katie King Crowley (9th season)
2014-2015 Record: 34-3-2
Frozen Four Appearances: 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Eagles games can watched online through BCEagles.com. It's $6.95 for 24 hours, $10.95 per month, or $89.95 for the year.
Player(s) to watch: The BC offense is potent and it's nearly impossible to cover all their scoring threats. The leader is senior Alex Carpenter, who played for Team USA in Sochi and is the reigning Patty Kazmaier winner. Her 81 points on 37 goals and 44 assists were a program record. Sophomore goalie Katie Burt was a question mark heading into last season, but won the Hockey East goaltending title.
Boston College has had one of the best rosters on paper for the past few years, but they haven't been able to find a way to break through and fulfill that promise.
Rink: Walter Brown Arena, capacity 3,806
Coach: Brian Durocher (11th season)
2014-2015 Record: 25-9-3
Frozen Four Appearances: 2011, 2013
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Terriers games are carried through College Sports Live at a cost of $9.95 per month or $99.95 for the year.
Player(s) to watch: The Terriers will need to find a way to fill the impressive skates of Marie Philip Poulin. Senior Sarah Lefort will provide the veteran leadership in that campaign. Sophomore Victoria Bach had an impressive initial campaign, winning Hockey East Rookie of the Year. Freshman Sammy Davis already has three goals and will look to have an impact.
University of Connecticut
Rink: Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum, capacity 2,000
Coach: Chris MacKenzie (3rd season)
2014-2015 Record: 11-18-8
Huskies games are carried through College Sports Live at a cost of $9.95 per month or $99.95 for the year.
Player(s) to watch: Senior defender Caitlin Hewes finished second in Hockey East with 83 blocked shots last season while adding 14 assists. She will anchor their blue line.
University of Maine
Mascot: Black Bears
Rink: Harold Alfond Sports Arena, capacity 5,641
Coach: Richard Reichenbach (2nd season)
2014-2015 Record: 10-20-3
Free audio appears to be available through their website, as well.
Player(s) to watch: Senior Audra Richards has four goals in the Black Bears' first two games. Senior goalie Meghann Treacy has been solid for two seasons and will need another good showing to anchor the Maine defense.
North Andover, Maine
Rink: Lawler Rink, Capacity 2,549
Coach: Erin Hamlen (1st season)
2014-2015 Record: This is their first season in DI.
Merrimack has video available through EverSport. It's $6.99 for 24 hours or $99 for a season pass.
Player(s) to watch: Freshman Paige Voight is a Minnesota Ms. Hockey runner-up and Pioneer Press Player of the Year. She's got a goal and two assists in the Warriors first two games. Junior Marie Delarbre is a transfer from Minnesota-Duluth and a German national who was twice named MVP of their U-18 team.
Team USA and Boston Pride player Kacey Bellamy is an assistant coach.
University of New Hampshire
Durham, New Hampshire
Rink: Whittemore Center, capacity 6,501
Coach: Hilary Witt (1st season)
2014-2015 Record: 10-23-3
Frozen Four Appearances: 2006
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Video is available through UNHWildcats.tv and is $9.95 per game, or $99.95 for all-access.
Player(s) to watch: Junior Jonna Curtis led the Wildcats in goals, points, and shots last season.
UNH will host the 2016 Frozen Four.
Rink: Matthews Arena, capacity 4,666
Coach: Dave Flint (7th season)
2014-2015 Record: 14-17-5
It appears that Northeastern has free audio and video available on GoNUXStream.
Player(s) to watch: Senior Kendall Coyne played for Team USA in Sochi and brings an incredible amount of speed. Freshman goalie Brittany Bugalski won gold with the US U-18 team at the WWC. How she adjusts to the college game will be important to the Huskies' success.
Providence, Rhode Island
Rink: Schneider Arena, capacity 3,030
Coach: Bob Deraney (17th season)
2014-2015 Record: 6-25-4
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 2005
Friars games are carried through College Sports Live at a cost of $9.95 a month or $99.95 for the year.
Player(s) to watch: Freshman Danille Hardy is 6'0 tall and should prove to be an asset up front. Senior captain Lexi Romanchuk has started every game of her Friars career.
Janine Weber, the first player to sign with the NWHL, is a Providence alumna.
University of Vermont
Rink: Gutterson Fieldhouse, capacity 4,007
Coach: Jim Plumer (4th season)
2014-2015 Record: 15-19-2
It appears that Catamount games are free via CatamounTV by NSN.
Player(s) to watch: Senior Dayna Colang transitioned from defense to forward last season and took to it well -- she led the team with 18 goals, 14 assists and 32 points. Sophomore Amanda Drobot was great at feeding her teammates the puck last season, though she needs to add her own goals to that mix.
This is BC's conference to lose and they have no excuses if they do. I'm picking Northeastern over BU as a bit of a flyer. Few teams have an answer for Kendall Coyne and BU has yet to find it's post-Poulin footing.
The middle three teams could finish in any order; that part is up for grabs.
1. Boston College
3. Boston University
4. New Hampshire
Check out all of Nicole's 2015-16 NCAA previews: