|NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Tournament|
|Sport||College ice hockey|
|Number of teams||8|
|Current stadium||Agganis Arena (cancelled)|
|Current location||Boston, Massachusetts (cancelled)|
|Current champion||Wisconsin Badgers (5)|
|Most championships||Minnesota Golden Gophers (6)|
The annual NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Tournament—officially known as the National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Championship—is a college ice hockey tournament held in the United States by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to determine the top women's team in the NCAA. The 2020 championship was cancelled duo the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic.
The NCAA Championship of Women's Ice Hockey began in 2001, although several universities had had women's teams established since the early 1970s.
In 1965, the first collegiate women's ice hockey team in the United States was created at Brown University. In February 1966, the team, named the "Pembroke Pandas", played its first match. Their opponents were the Walpole Brooms, a non-collegiate team. The women's ice hockey program of Cornell University began in 1971. The Big Red team competed in its first match in 1972, which it won 4–3, against Scarborough. In 1972, they played eight matches and lost half, including two defeats against the Pembroke Pandas. Yale University made its debut in women's hockey on December 9, 1975. The University of Minnesota-Duluth, the University of New Hampshire, and the rest Ivy League have similar histories.
In 1976, Brown University would host the first ever Ivy League women's ice hockey tournament. Competitors in the tournament included Princeton, Yale, and Cornell, which won the tournament. Women's ice hockey continued growth and acceptance continued through the early 1980s. In 1984, the Providence Friars won the inaugural ECAC women's ice hockey championship.
In the 1997–98 season, the American Women's College Hockey Alliance (AWCHA) made its debut. It was financed by the United States Olympic Committee. This allowed for the first national women's ice hockey championship to occur, which was won by New Hampshire. The 1997–98 season also saw the creation of the Patty Kazmaier Award, designed to recognize the most remarkable women's collegiate ice hockey player every season. The AWCHA also conducted championships in 1999 and 2000, which were won by Harvard and Minnesota respectively.
During the 1999–2000 season, WCHA joined the ECAC in an attempt to make women's ice hockey an NCAA sanctioned sport. In August 2000, the NCAA announced that it would set up a national division of women's ice hockey with a national championship at the end of every season, starting with the 2000–01 season. The Minnesota–Duluth Bulldogs won the inaugural tournament and, by extension, championship 4–2 against the St. Lawrence Skating Saints.
NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey
In all, 41 schools in the United States, ranging from the Midwest to the East Coast, sponsor varsity women's hockey at the National Collegiate (Divisions I and II) level. Five National Collegiate conferences are currently recognized by the NCAA—College Hockey America, ECAC Hockey, Hockey East, New England Women's Hockey Alliance, and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
With a 30+ game schedule, competing for conference and national championships, NCAA Division I women's hockey has a demanding and challenging season.
Under NCAA rules, Division II schools are allowed to compete as Division I members in sports that offer championships only in Divisions I and III. As there is no Division II championship for women's ice hockey, this rule applies to the tournament. The official name of the "Division I" tournament is the National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Championship, which reflects the NCAA's formal terminology for championship events that are open to schools from multiple divisions.
This tournament is a single elimination competition of eight teams. The semi-finals and finals are called the "Women's Frozen Four." This moniker is similar to the name used by the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship. The term is derived from the term "Final four."
The Patty Kazmaier Award ceremony takes place annually during Women's Frozen Four weekend.
Although many schools from many conferences have been competitive, the first 13 championships were won by only three different schools all originating from the WCHA: Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. In 2014, the WCHA's hold on the championship was finally broken when Clarkson defeated Minnesota. The ECAC, from which Clarkson originated, has easily been the second most competitive conference, with appearances in eight national title games, including the first five. Hockey East has had three title game appearances, twice by Boston University and once by Boston College, and CHA has had one title appearance, by Mercyhurst in 2009. The 2020 championship was cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
|Minnesota||6||2004, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016|
|Minnesota–Duluth||5||2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010|
|Wisconsin||5||2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2019|
|Clarkson||3||2014, 2017, 2018|
Result by school and year
24 teams have appeared in the NCAA Tournament in at least one year starting with 2001 (the initial year that the post-season tournament was under the auspices of the NCAA). The results for all years are shown in this table below.
The code in each cell represents the furthest the team made it in the respective tournament:
- Quarterfinals (did not exist until 2005)
- Frozen Four
- National Runner-up
- National Champion
In February 2017, the NCAA announced that it had reached a four-year deal with Big Ten Network to televise the Women's national championship game beginning in 2017, and the Frozen Four semi-finals beginning in 2018.
|2019||BTN||Chris Vosters||Sonny Watrous||Margaux Farrell|
|2018||BTN||Dan Kelly||Sonny Watrous||Allison Hayes|
NCAA.com (Frozen Four)
|Sonny Watrous||Sara Dayley|
|2014||NCAA.com||Leah Secondo||AJ Mleczko|
Records and statistics
- NCAA Division I Women's Hockey Tournament all-time individual records
- NCAA Division I Women's Hockey Tournament all-time team records
- NCAA Division I Women's Hockey Tournament appearances by school
- Patty Kazmaier Award
- Laura Hurd Award
- NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey
- Title IX
- NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship
- Pre-NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Champions
- Michael McKinley, Hockey A People's History, McClelland & Stewart ltd 2006, pp 237–238. ISBN 978-0-7710-5769-4
- About Girls/Womens' (sic) Hockey
- "Bylaw 184.108.40.206 Divisions II and III Members—Classification of a Sport in Division I" (PDF). 2010–11 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 333. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
- "Bylaw 20.8.2 Division II Options When No Division II Championship Is Conducted" (PDF). 2010–11 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 338. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
"Boston, Tampa, Chicago, St. Paul get upcoming men's Frozen Fours". www.uscho.com. December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
Women’s Frozen Fours were awarded to Minneapolis’ Ridder Arena in 2015 and 2018; the Whittemore Center Arena in Durham, N.H., in 2016; and the Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo., in 2017.
- "2019 - 2022 Future NC NCAA Championship Sites". NCAA.com. April 18, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
- "College hockey: Women's Frozen Four to air on Big Ten Network". NCAA.com. Retrieved March 17, 2017.