The Big Ten Conference will add a legendary team to their B1G Hockey Conference. That will make seven teams competing when the 2017-2018 hockey season begins.

The Big Ten Conference announced today that the University of Notre Dame has been added as a sport affiliate member for men’s ice hockey beginning with the 2017-18 academic year. The Fighting Irish will join Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin to give the conference seven hockey programs.

#40 Cal Petersen (Photo: Britta Lewis)

Former Waterloo Black Hawks and Waterloo native Cal Petersen serves as the Fighting Irish's main goal this season. Petersen has a 19-10-7 record and 92.8% save percentage so far in the 2015-2016 season.

“Notre Dame hockey has a long history of competing with Big Ten programs and we’re pleased to renew those rivalries as part of conference hockey competition,” said Big Ten Deputy Commissioner Brad Traviolia. “The Big Ten continues to grow the sport of hockey in our conference and the addition of Notre Dame as a sport affiliate assists in that goal.”

Notre Dame hockey becomes the conference’s third sport affiliate member, following the Johns Hopkins men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. The Blue Jays joined the conference in men’s lacrosse in 2015, while the women’s team will begin Big Ten play in 2017. The Big Ten is committed to broad-based sports opportunities, and the addition of affiliate members helps to support the growth of sports less broadly sponsored by Big Ten institutions.

The 2015-16 season marks the 56th year of men’s hockey at Notre Dame. Under the guidance of head coach Jeff Jackson, the Fighting Irish have qualified for the NCAA Tournament seven times in 11 seasons, reaching the Frozen Four twice.
Notre Dame has previously shared a conference with five of the six Big Ten hockey programs. The Fighting Irish were members of the CCHA (with Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State) from 1992-93 through 2012-13. Prior to that, they were members of the WCHA (with Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin) from 1971-72 through 1980-81.

The six current Big Ten hockey programs have combined to record 23 national championships, 256 All-Americans and nine Hobey Baker Award winners. Michigan leads the nation with nine national championships, while Wisconsin has won six, Minnesota has claimed five and Michigan State has three.