Entering the 2013-14 season, the Razorback hockey team will play out of the Pacific Region. ACHA Men’s Division III college hockey is divided into four geographic regions: Atlantic, North, Pacific, and South. After playing its entire short history (since 2007) in the South Region, the team made its decision to file paperwork seeking a region transfer.
For years, the top teams in the South Region have been Florida Gulf Coast (in Fort Myers, FL) and University of Central Florida (in Orlando, FL), neither of which are within driving distance of the Hogs. In fact, since 2007, the Hogs have been able to play University of Central Florida only once (a 5-2 win on January 29, 2012) and Florida Gulf Coast only twice (a 2-1 loss on October 17, 2010 and 4-3 OT loss on November 11, 2012).
“This is a long overdue move for us,” said Head Coach Brian Gallini. He added: “it’s not financially viable for us to travel to Florida on a season-by-season basis and it makes it nearly impossible for us to be competitive for the autobid.” [For a more detailed explanation of the rankings process, please click here.] In addition to regular season concerns, there is of course the location of each post-season regional tournament. In recent years, the location of the South Regional tournament has been in Irmo, South Carolina (approximately 13.5 hours away), whereas the Pacific Regional can sometimes be more centralized — last season the Pacific Regional took place in Springfield, Illinois (approximately 6.5 hours away).
With this significant change in mind, fans can expect certain regular season games to suddenly gain heightened importance, like those against Missouri State (#7 Pacific at the end of the 2012-13 season) and McKendree (#14 Pacific at the end of the 2012-13 season). Fans can also expect to see a host of new teams on the 2013-14 schedule. The team will, however, retain its conference affiliation with the SECHC and will continue to play familiar rivals like Alabama, Ole Miss, and Auburn.