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The St. Thomas men's hockey team will change conferences, joining Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State, North Dakota, defending NCAA champion Denver and others in the NCHC starting in 2026-2027, the Tommies announced Wednesday.

The Tommies will remain in the CCHA — along with Minnesota State Mankato, Bemidji State and others — for the next two seasons before making the switch. The 2026-27 season will also be the first one St. Thomas is eligible for the Division I NCAA tournament.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) board of governors voted unanimously to bring the Tommies aboard as the conference's 10th team. Arizona State will enter that conference this coming season. The league's other teams are Colorado College, Western Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and Nebraska Omaha.

St. Thomas, which made the leap from Division III in 2021, plays in the Pioneer Football League, with women's hockey in the WCHA and other sports in the Summit League.

"The NCHC is among the premier conferences in all of college hockey and we are thrilled to announce our membership in 2026," Tommies athletics director Phil Esten said in a statement. "The move aligns with our institutional and athletics trajectory and places the Tommies with the other Summit League hockey-playing members [Denver, North Dakota and Nebraska Omaha], competing in the conference"

Added NCHC Commissioner Heather Weems: "During our annual NCHC meetings in Naples, the athletics directors engaged in robust conversation about the conference's vision and goals in the current NCAA landscape, including membership.

"St. Thomas's institutional vision and commitment to nationally competitive hockey, as well as their central location in our footprint and new facility, make them an ideal fit. The window of opportunity arose quickly."