- 18 National Championships in 20 years
- 7 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Winners
- 110 All-Americans
- 174 Olympians
- Countless young women inspired
The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the top league in all of women's collegiate hockey, proudly celebrates its 23rd season of competition in 2021-22, its third under the leadership of Commissioner Jennifer Flowers.
Founded in 1999, the WCHA has been at the forefront of growing and raising the profile of women's hockey nationwide as the league continues to churn out national champions, Patty Kazmaier winners, Olympians and professional players. The league consists of seven premier institutions that offer the best in both educational and athletic environments.
The league welcomed its sixth Minnesota-based member with the University of St. Thomas (Tommies) joined for the 2021-22 campaign, rounding out the eight-team membership of Bemidji State (Beavers), University of Minnesota (Gophers), University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), The Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies), and University of Wisconsin (Badgers).
No women's hockey conference can top the impressive list of national accomplishments of the WCHA. Since 1998, member teams have earned a record 18 NCAA and AWCHA national championships while finishing as the national runner-up seven times. Since the inception of the NCAA women's ice hockey championship in 2001, the WCHA has won 17 titles, landed at least one team in every Frozen Four and iced two or more teams in 15 Frozen Fours.
The league has also produced seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners as well an additional 21 student-athletes who were among the Top-3 finalists for the award.
Eighty-three WCHA student-athletes have made 174 appearances in the Olympic Games, with 27 earning Gold medals, since women's ice hockey made its first appearance in the Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
Since 2002, every team to medal at the Olympics has had at least one player with WCHA ties on its roster.
At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang South Korea, 37 current or former WCHA players competed. The group included Gold medal winners Hannan Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Brianne Decker, Megan Duggan, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Gigi Marvin, Sidney Morin, Kelly Pannek, Alex Rigsby, Maddie Rooney and Lee Stecklein of the United States.
The Silver medal-winning Canadian team featured WCHA stars Emily Clark, Ann-Renee Desbiens, Haley Irwin, Brigette Lacquette, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Sara Nurse, Natalie Spooner and Blayre Turnbull. Bronze medalist Finland boasted a roster that included WCHA players Mira Jalosuo, Michelle Karvinen, Emma Nuutinen, Noora Räty and Eveliina Suonpaa.
WCHA players have been recognized as All-Americans 110 times in league history, including three-time selections Hannah Brandt, Natalie Darwitz, Brianna Decker, Jincy Dunne, Hilary Knight, Monique Lamoureux, Annie Pankowski, Noora Räty, Maria Rooth, Lee Stecklein, Daryl Watts, and Krissy Wendell. When it comes to coaching, WCHA teams and players have benefited from the expertise of some of the best minds in the game. Current bench bosses Mark Johnson (Wisconsin) and Brad Frost (Minnesota) are the nation's winningest active coaches and their respective career winning percentages rank among the top five in NCAA history. Johnson became the first coach in NCAA women's hockey to reach the 500-win plateau two seasons ago.
WCHA coaches have won 11 of the 24 AHCA Women's Division I National Coach of the Year awards presented since the honor's inception in 1998.
Crowds at WCHA games are always among the most enthusiastic in all of hockey. The Top-10 most-attended women's ice hockey games in NCAA history, including a record 15,359 fans who turned out for the Wisconsin-St. Cloud State game on Jan. 14, 2017 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., featured WCHA teams.
In January 2020, a pair of WCHA schools - Ohio State and Minnesota State - met outdoors at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis as part of the annual Hockey Day Minnesota festivities in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
The WCHA provides fans the opportunity to watch league action throughout the season. Every game hosted by WCHA member institutions, along with the WCHA Final Faceoff, will be streamed live and on demand exclusively on BTN+.
With eight high-quality institutions producing leaders and champions on and off the ice, and playing in front of the sport's best fans, this much is certain: The WCHA - like it has for two decades - will remain elite on the ice, while growing the game by providing an exemplary student-athlete and fan experience.