Twenty seasons of NCHA women's hockey. It's emotional to think about.
All the moments, the champions, the stand-out players, the dramatic finishes, the leaders ...
During this historic 20th season of women's hockey, the NCHA will celebrate everything that has made our conference special. Players will wear commemorative helmet decals with the start of the conference schedule, November 15th. Postseason game pucks will feature the special 20th season logo. Our weekly release will include a section to wax historicals. And on NCHAhockey.org, we'll tell the stories of the great players and teams, the unforgettable goals, the comebacks, the dynasties, the goalies who dominated, the men and women who made the league happen, and everything in between.
OUR FIRST NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAM
UW-River Falls made history for its program and the NCHA Women's Conference when it became the first team from the newly-formed league to be selected to the NCAA Tournament in 2003. The Falcons took an 11-game unbeaten streak into the NCAAs and promptly made it 12 with a convincing 5-1 win over St. Thomas in the quarterfinals. UW-River Falls would lose in the semifinals to host and eventual national champion Elmira in a tight 2-1 decision. Emotionally drained from that game, the Falcons lost to Bowdoin the next day in the third place game. Nevertheless, the 2002-03 UWRF Falcons will forever be a part of history, representing the first NCAA Tournament appearance and victory for the NCHA.
WINNING IT ALL
Most Playoff Championships
5 UW-River Falls
5 UW-Stevens Point
2 Lake Forest
1 St. Norbert
The list of playoff championships shows the flow of dominance during the history of the NCHA. The earliest power was UW-Stevens Point, winning its titles in the opening years of the conference. The Pointers won five championships in six years from 2002 through 2007. UW-River Falls won two of the first thtree title but really dominated the middle years prior to the departure of the Wisconsin state schools. The Falcons won three titles in four years from 2009 through 2012. And now it's Adrian - with a current streak of four straight Slaats Cup titles. The Bulldogs can move into first all by themselves with one more playoff championship. Their first title came in just their second year as an NCHA member, knocking off regular season champ UW-River Falls in the final. The Bulldogs dominance over the past four years is historic, matching UW-Stevens Point as the only programs to win four championships in a row.
THE FIRST CHAMPION - March 4, 2001
UW-River Falls defeats UW-Superior 2-1 to win the first NCHA Tournament Championship. The Falcons finished 19-7-1 on the year. The tournament was held in Superior, as the Yellowjackets won the regular season title. UW-River Falls was led by All-NCHA forward Mandy Stokes and defensemen Lindsy Carlson and Beth Betker. Carlson would be named to two more All-NCHA teams in a stand-out career, cementing herself as one of the early, great players in the NCHA. UW-Superior had another one of the greats on its roster in Mika Sharpe. The coaching matchup in this historic game pitted Jane Norman for UW-Superior and Joe Cranston for UW-River Falls. Cranston is still behind the bench for the Falcons today in 2019-20. UW-Superior reached the title game after winning one of the greatest games in league history. The 'Jackets defeated Lake Forest in three overtimes, 4-3.
2000-2001 NCHA Playoffs at UW-Superior
March 3, 2001
UW-Stevens Point 1 vs UW-River Falls 4
Lake Forest 3 vs UW-Superior 4 (3OT)
March 4, 2001
UW-River Falls 2 vs UW-Superior 1