St. Thomas men's hockey team joining NCHC in 2026

Renderings for Lee and Penny Anderson arena (University of St. Thomas)

The University of St. Thomas announced Wednesday that its men’s hockey team will be the 10th member of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, starting in the 2026-27 season.

The Tommies were given unanimous approval by the conference’s board of directors to make the move in two years. Until then, they will remain in the CCHA. The NCHC features Minnesota-Duluth, St. Cloud State, North Dakota and Denver among others. Arizona State will join the conference next season.

That's also in time for a new arena to open on campus that will be the venue for men's and women's hockey, and men's and women's basketball.

"The NCHC is among the premier conferences in all of college hockey and we are thrilled to announce our membership in 2026.  The move aligns with our institutional and athletics trajectory and places the Tommies with the other Summit League hockey-playing members competing in the conference," St. Thomas Athletic Director Phil Esten said in a statement.  "We are enthusiastic about the new strategic opportunities this will bring our University and department as we will bring new rivalries to St. Paul and compete in expanded markets nationally."

St. Thomas athletics made the move from Division III to Division I in 2021, highlighted by the football team playing in the FCS Pioneer League. The men’s and women’s basketball teams play in the Summit League.

The Tommies men’s hockey team finished 15-20-2 overall last season, including 12-11-1 in CCHA action.