The Worcester Railers HC will begin play at the DCU Center during the 2017-18 season, and they might not be the only new tenant arriving at the arena.
Reports indicate that the College of the Holy Cross is considering a conference change for its hockey program, which would switch from the Atlantic Hockey Association to Hockey East. While the university is not commenting on the reports, the worked needed to complete the transition is evident.
Moving to Hockey East would require the Holy Cross Crusaders to play games at a larger venue than the on-campus Hart Center, which seats 1,600 for hockey. At that point the DCU Center would be the most logical choice within Worcester, prompting many to wonder if the Railers are willing to share the venue with Holy Cross. According to Railers owner Cliff Rucker, the organization would do what it could to accommodate the extra team at the arena. More from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette:
The DCU Center is the only local venue with the 4,000 seats required by Hockey East.
“Whatever happens,” Rucker said, “the Worcester Railers are committed to the city of Worcester and will find a way to make it work. And we are confident that we will find a way to make it work.”
If Holy Cross does join Hockey East, it appears that would not happen until the 2018-19 season. According to published reports, the conference is preparing to play the 2017-18 season with 11 teams after the departure of Notre Dame.
The timing is as such that the Railers would have the DCU Center to themselves for one season. The Railers are set to join the ECHL as an expansion team for the 2017-18 season, marking the DCU Center’s first professional hockey tenant since the AHL’s Worcester Sharks moved to San Jose after the 2014-15 campaign.