Early 1970s (probably 1971): Brian Schnarr (Bryn Athyn College) and Paul Saylor (West Chester College) co-founds the DVCHC (back then it was called Delaware Collegiate Hockey League). The league consisted of six teams the first season (1971-1972): Bryn Athyn College, LaSalle, St Josephs University, University of Delaware, Villanova, and West Chester. The 1971-1972 season was just a regular series without play-offs (BAC and West Chester finished first with exactly the same record and therefore shared the first championship)
Women's ice hockey stands as one of the most enthralling, fast-paced, and oldest known games in organized female athletics. The earliest known photograph of women playing hockey dates back to 1890 and includes the daughter of Lord Stanley, of "Stanley Cup" notoriety.
Since those days women have taken to the ice in increasing numbers and at increasing levels of competition: playing on pee-wee teams, high school squads, NCAA D-1 squads (first in '00), the NHL (first in '92), and the Olympics (first in '98).
Yet at the turn of this century, women's ice hockey at the college club level was still largely unsupported. Nearly fifty women's non-varsity teams were in existence, playing in regional leagues or as independents when, in January of 2000, a dramatic step was taken.
The American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), a league of approximately 150 men's teams across the U.S., announced the creation of the first national organization for women's collegiate non-varsity ice hockey. Fourteen clubs signed up and never looked back.
Following that 2000-2001 season's success, the Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference (DVCHC) took notice. Founded in 1971, the DVCHC was (and still is) a well-respected regional hockey league with a tradition of only admitting teams that were members of the ACHA. Organizing the area's ACHA women's teams was a bold but logical next step.
In 2002 the DVCHC's newly formed Women's DII division played its first full season, tournament and an All-Star game.
Penn State (PA), University of Pennsylvania (PA), University of Maryland (MD), American University (DC) and Drexel University (PA) were the founding teams. That year the veteran "Lady Icers" of Penn State went undefeated, wrapping up a win in the playoffs and a trip to ACHA nationals.
Years later the DVCHC Women's DII has changed a bit but continues its tradition of fast-paced, competitive hockey with all eyes on the current seven team roster. Meanwhile the ACHA begins its fourth year of women's hockey with a current registration of 38 teams nationwide.
Together the leagues' partnership represents and promotes the highest level of college sportsmanship, competition, and fun both regionally and nationally, and stands in dedicated service to women's hockey around the world.
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