The Big Ten Conference is one of the six current NCAA Division I men's ice hockey conferences. While it is the oldest conference overall in Division I, having been established in 1896 (predating the NCAA itself by a decade), it is one of the newer hockey conferences, having only started play in the 2013-14 season.
The impetus for the establishment of the league was in September 2010, when oil and natural gas magnate Terry Pegula and his wife Kim donated $88 million to Terry's alma mater of Penn State to establish Division I hockey programs for both men and women. Once Penn State took the ice, that gave the Big Ten six members with varsity men's hockey—the number of schools required under conference bylaws for official sponsorship of a sport, and also the number of members required for a conference to receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Six months later the Big Ten announced it would begin sponsoring men's ice hockey in 2013–14.
The following schools joined from the disbanded CCHA: Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State. While Minnesota and Wisconsin joined from the WCHA. Penn State was previously an independent.
Championships and NCAA Tournaments
The new league upon establishment had the following pedigree:
- 23 Frozen Four championships
- 68 Frozen Four appearnces
- 127 NCAA Division I tournament appearances
- 48 Division I conference tournament championships
- 56 Division I conference regular season championships
Not included in these totals are Penn State's 7 Tournament championships and 23 tournament appearances while members of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, which is a non-varsity league.
source: Big Ten 2013-14 media guide
The conference announced on March 23, 2016 that University of Notre Dame has been added as a sport affiliate member for men's ice hockey beginning with the 2017-18 academic year.
As a result of a study conducted in cooperation with the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association a recomendation was made for the University of Illinois-Champaign. A recomendation for a 5,000 to 6,000 seat arena be built in the downtown section of Champaign. The university has not decided whether or not to launch a hockey program which is estimated to cost over $50 million. The arena would also be used for other sports at the university such as volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics.
Potential In-conference Expansion
All of the present membership that do not compete in the men's ice hockey conference offer club ice hockey.
- Illinois Fighting Illini (see note above)
- Indiana Hoosiers
- Iowa Hawkeyes
- Maryland Terrapins
- Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Northwestern Wildcats
- Purdue Boilermakers
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights
For the 2014 through 2017 tournaments the games were held at a single location (Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2014 and 2016) and (the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan in (2015 and 2017) The top two seeds earned a first round bye, the third seed played the sixth seed and the fourth seed played the fifth seed. The lower seeded first round winner would play the confernce regular season champion and the higher seeded first round winner would play the second seeded team. The semifinal winner would meet for the conference championship and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
With the addition of Notre Dame for the 2018-19 season it has been reported the format will change. The games will move from a single location to campus locations for all games. The regular season champion will earn a first round bye and continue to have home ice advantage throughout their stay in the tournament. The first round will feature best-of-three series involving the #2 vs #7, #3 vs #6, and #4 vs #5. The lowest seeded first round winner will travel to the top seed and the lower of the other two first round winners will travel to the highest seeded first round winner in a single elimination semifinal. The single elimination final will be held at the rink of the higher seeded semifinal winner. The tournament winner will be awarded the conferences automatic bid to the NCAA tournament
|Michigan||Yost Ice Arena||6,637|
|Michigan State||Munn Ice Arena||6,470|
|Ohio State||Jerome Schottenstein Center||17,200|
|Notre Dame (2017-18)||Compton Family Ice Arena||5,022|
Regular Season Champions
- 2013-14 - Minnesota Golden Gophers
- 2014-15 - Minnesota Golden Gophers
- 2015-16 - Minnesota Golden Gophers
- 2016-17 - Minnesota Golden Gophers
- 2017-18 - Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- 2018-19 - Ohio State Buckeyes
- 2014 - Wisconsin Badgers
- 2015 - Minnesota Golden Gophers
- 2016 - Michigan Wolverines
- 2017 - Penn State Nittany Lions
- 2018 - Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- 2019 - Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- 2013-14 Big Ten Season
- 2014-15 Big Ten Season
- 2015-16 Big Ten Season
- 2016-17 Big Ten Season
- 2017-18 Big Ten Season
- 2018-19 Big Ten Season
|NCAA Division I hockey conferences|
|Current||Atlantic Hockey - Big Ten Conference - Central Collegiate Hockey Association - College Hockey America (women's) - ECAC Hockey - Hockey East - National Collegiate Hockey Conference - New England Women's Hockey Alliance - Western Collegiate Hockey Association (women's) - Independents|
|Former||College Hockey America (men's) - Great West Hockey Conference - Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference - Tri-State League - Western Collegiate Hockey Association (men's)|
|Championships: Men / Women|