Salve Regina men’s, women’s hockey programs join New England Hockey Conference in 2024-25
The New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) today announced the addition of Salve Regina as the league’s newest member. Both the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams at Salve Regina will join the conference and begin league play during the 2024-25 season.
“The NEHC is excited to welcome Salve Regina as the league’s newest member,” stated NEHC Commissioner Katie Boldvich. “The Seahawks have long shown their stability and success in the ice hockey community. Their commitment to the growth of the sport, overarching goals as a department and geographic footprint made them an ideal member for the conference.”
Sean Sullivan, athletic director at Salve Regina, said the move to the NEHC marks a visible commitment to the continued growth of the Seahawks’ two ice hockey programs.
“By joining one of the premier hockey conferences in the country, Salve Regina ice hockey student-athletes will now be challenged by and benefit from playing against other Division III programs of the highest caliber,” Sullivan said. “Our hockey partners in the CCC have prepared us well and we are ready to step up our dedication to hockey even further. We are thrilled about the prospects of what the 2024-25 season and beyond will bring to Newport.”
The Salve Regina men’s hockey team, two-time CCC regular-season champions in 2018-19 and 2017-18, recently concluded their 2022-2023 season with a 15-10-1 overall record. Qualifying as the fourth seed in the conference championship tournament, the Seahawks advanced following a 5-2 win over Western New England before being eliminated in the semifinals 5-4 by the top seed, Endicott. Salve Regina forward Joseph Kile ’23 was tied at the top of regular season conference goal-scoring list with 16 goals scored.
The season was also highlighted by two Salve Regina players, Johnny Mulera ’24 and Mitch Walinski ’23, representing the United States and winning silver medals at the 2023 FISU World University Games held Jan. 11-22 in Lake Placid, New York. This was the United States’ first men’s ice hockey medal at the Games since 1972, when it won bronze.
“This is an exciting time for the future of the Salve men’s ice hockey program,” said Zech Klann, head coach of men’s hockey. “We are very happy to be joining the NEHC and the strong traditions within the conference. We look forward to competing alongside these well-established programs.”
The women’s team has been competing at the Division III level for 20 years and recently concluded its 2022-23 season with an 11-13 overall record. Individual accomplishments included Sydney Baxter ’26 earning conference Goaltender of the Week honors, Emma Periera ’25 (defense) being named Player of the Week, Riley Esposito ’26 (forward) named three times as Rookie of the Week and Livia Krzywulak ’26 (goaltender) earning Rookie of the Week honors.
“We are excited to be joining the NEHC for the 2024-2025 season,” said David Lun, head coach of the women’s team. “Its prestige and level of competition precedes itself. Salve’s women’s hockey program is poised to re-establish itself and this move to the NEHC is a significant step to bolster that process. In addition, it demonstrates a commitment from the University to support its hockey programs for future success.”
Both the Seahawks men and women will compete in the CCC during the 2023-24 season before transitioning to NEHC play in 2024-25. The NEHC has also announced the addition of Albertus Magnus College to the league for the 2024-25 season. The conference currently sits at 11 members in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
“I look forward to working with Sean Sullivan, Coach Klann and Coach Lun as we continue to move our league forward,” Boldvich said.
The conference is already at work developing expanded league schedules for the 2024-2025 season. Be sure to follow the conference at its website or on Twitter for news and updates related to the league.
The New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) prides itself on being one of the premiere playing conferences for NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Hockey in the country. The league and its members are committed to promoting the sport of hockey, recognizing the student-athletes, and promoting fair play and sportsmanship while maintaining a high level of competition. The conference boasts a unique geographic footprint and utilizes a travel partner scheduling model which allows for meaningful conference competition across the northeast. The ability to travel to desirable cities, hockey towns and rinks makes for a high-quality student-athlete experience for its teams.