Friday, March 25, 2011
Lindenwood moves from ACHA to NCAA for 2011-2012
Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri announced today through Beyond the Dashers that they will field an NCAA National Collegiate (Division 1) Women's Ice Hockey program for the 2011-2012 season. This move is made in part because Lindenwood is taking 27 of it's 50 sports to the NCAA level. 2011-2012 will be the second year of their candidacy period before being granted full NCAA membership. The Lions will play as an Independent in Women's Hockey during the 2011-2012 season.
“Lindenwood is excited to elevate its women’s ice hockey program to NCAA status,” said Athletic Director John Creer. “The women’s team has already established a winning tradition in the ACHA and we now look forward to future success in the NCAA at the DI level of play.”
The Lady Lions began the program in 2003-04 and have qualified for the national tournament in all eight years of their existence. During this time the program has won four national titles, a runner up finish and most recently a third place finish. Lindenwood has also captured three league titles in the Central Collegiate Women’s Hockey Association (CCWHA).
Lindenwood Women's Hockey
Lindenwood's National Championships
Lindenwood University Ice Arena
The only coach Lindenwood women’s hockey has known, Vince O’Mara will be responsible to lead the women’s hockey program to NCAA status. O’Mara just completed his 14th year coaching women’s hockey. Prior to joining the Lindenwood coaching staff, O'Mara was the head coach for the St. Louis Force select 16 and over women’s team. He had a combined record there of 135-25-12. He also has numerous years of playing and coaching men’s hockey. He has been involved in instructing and running many hockey camps and schools for both men and women. O'Mara coached teams to four WCHL league championships, five Missouri State titles, four Central Regional championships, and four national championship appearances.
“The support from the University from day one of our women’s program has been unbelievable,” said Head Coach Vince O’Mara. “Our program has achieved a lot in eight seasons in the ACHA and we look forward to the challenges of building a top program at the NCAA DI level.”
O’Mara has built a powerhouse at Lindenwood and amassed an incredible 241-26-11 record. Along with the team titles, O’Mara has been named ACHA Coach of the Year twice. This past season he was named an assistant coach for Team USA at the World University Games in Erzurum, Turkey. He helped lead the American team to a fourth place finish in their first ever appearance at the World University Games.
“There are some real exciting challenges with bringing in our first recruiting class and putting together our schedule, but our first goal is to build a solid program that is attractive to a potential conference,” said O’Mara.
Lindenwood will continue to play their home games and practice at the Lindenwood Ice Arena, which is owned by Lindenwood and located in Wentzville, Mo. The Lady Lions are currently working on filling out their schedule for the 2011-12 season.
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