The Atlantic Hockey board of directors has voted to reinstate former member Robert Morris, the AHA announced Friday.
Robert Morris’ reinstatement as a full member is effective immediately. The Colonials will return to competition in Atlantic Hockey at the start of the 2023-24 season.
“On behalf of the Atlantic Hockey Association, I want to welcome Robert Morris University back to the AHA,” Atlantic Hockey commissioner Robert DeGregorio said in a statement. “RMU was a valued member of our conference during its earlier tenure and we look forward to seeing the Colonials back on the ice and competing in Atlantic Hockey in 2023-24.”
The reinstatement follows a Dec. 17, 2021 decision by Robert Morris administration and the school’s board of trustees to reverse a previous announcement on May 26, 2021 that it was eliminating its men’s and women’s hockey programs. Following the reinstatement of its program, RMU applied for readmittance to Atlantic Hockey earlier this year and that request was granted with the recent vote by the AHA board.
“Today is an exciting day for men’s hockey at RMU, as the opportunity to rejoin Atlantic Hockey is the next step in relaunching the program,” RMU director of athletics Chris King said. “We’re grateful to Atlantic Hockey commissioner Robert DeGregorio as well as the administrations throughout the league for providing the opportunity to rejoin the conference. Atlantic Hockey is widely respected throughout the college hockey community, and we’re excited to get back to competing for championships on a yearly basis.”
Robert Morris will use the 2022-23 season to prepare for returning to the ice in 2023-24. Derek Schooley, who served as Robert Morris’ head coach from 2003-21, remains as the program’s head coach and also serves as RMU’s director of men’s and women’s hockey operations.
“We’re very excited to be reinstated back into Atlantic Hockey,” Schooley said. “Thank you to the conference athletic directors and presidents for allowing us to return to a league we’ve called home since 2010. Atlantic Hockey is a very deep and challenging league with outstanding coaches and programs. We look forward to building on our three regular season and tournament championship resume within the AHA and can’t wait to continue the rivalries we’ve had against some very good teams in 2023-24.”
The only coach in RMU’s hockey history, Schooley led the Colonials to a pair of AHA regular-season titles (2014-15, 2015-16), the 2021 West pod title, the 2014 Atlantic Hockey postseason crown and a berth in the 2014 NCAA tournament in the Colonials’ initial stint in the AHA from 2010-21. RMU posted a 206-162-42 (.554) overall mark and a 148-104-39 (.577) record in Atlantic Hockey play under Schooley during that 11-season stretch.
The process of hiring of assistant coaches and support staff and recruitment of players at Robert Morris is ongoing.