BIDDEFORD – The University of New England Monday announced the addition of a men’s ice hockey team to its existing athletics programs.

The team, which will start at a pre-varsity level, will commence competition during the 2007-2008 academic year and will become a full-fledged varsity program in the 2010-2011 academic year.

During the mid-70’s through the early 80’s, UNE (formerly St. Francis College) sponsored a championship-winning men’s ice hockey team. The team won three consecutive National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) District 5 championships from 1976 to 1979. Coached by Bob Riley, St. Francis made one appearance at the NAIA National Tournament in Superior, Wisc. and twice qualified for the NAIA National Tournament in St. Paul, Minn. Two players from those teams – Jack Lowry and Randy Van Voorhies – signed contracts with professional hockey teams.

Athletic Director Kim Allen has already met with officials at the Biddeford Ice Arena, the venue the team will use for practices and home contests. She expects the program will be able to secure ice time without displacing local high schools and other programs already using the facility. A search will start immediately for a head coach, and the Nor’easters will be pursuing the opportunity to compete in the Northeast Collegiate Hockey Association. Adding a men’s hockey team will also fulfill UNE’s NCAA Division III requirements for adding another male sport by the year 2010.

Beckham out for about a month

MADRID, Spain (AP) – David Beckham’s return to form has taken a new twist – a bad twist of his right knee.

The Los Angeles Galaxy-bound midfielder will be sidelined for about a month after hurting a knee ligament during a Spanish League game last weekend, an injury that eliminated his chance of being recalled to England’s national team for upcoming European Championship qualifiers.

The 31-year-old hurt his right knee during Real Madrid’s 1-1 tie with Getafe on Sunday when his momentum following a cross took him into an advertising sign behind the goal. He limped off the field, and a scan Monday revealed the injured ligament.

“Obviously, we hope it’s not a serious injury so he can get back to helping Real Madrid challenge for the title,” Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas said.

“We do not expect this injury to affect his arrival in Los Angeles or his debut with the Galaxy.”‘

Beckham missed three games in November due to an injured left knee, which he hurt at the World Cup.

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