The Central Maine Community College men’s hockey team, for the first time in program history, will have the chance to earn a spot in the postseason.

The Auburn school announced in a news release Thursday that athletic director Dave Gonyea and hockey head coach Jordy Knoren were notified this week that CMCC has been granted full-member status in the Northeast Collegiate Hockey Association.

Being a full member in the NECHA makes the Mustangs eligible for postseason play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. Central Maine first joined the NECHA in 2020, with probationary status.

“We have strived for this opportunity since we started hockey five years ago,” Gonyea said in the release. “Our college has been totally on board financially supporting the program, and our fans, both at the college and in the community, have been waiting for this moment. To say we are excited is an understatement.”

Central Maine will play in the NECHA’s M3 Colonial North division, which includes teams from Bates College, Thomas College, University of New England, Dartmouth College and Colby-Sawyer College. According to the news release, each team faces every team in the twice and plays games outside of the division against other ACHA members. The top finishers will qualify for the NECHA tournament.

“Being involved since year one with the program, I know what it means to the school and everybody involved,” Knoren, who also played for the Mustangs, said in the release. “Many people worked hard to establish the program to where it is now. Knowing that CM hockey will be eligible for regional play is the icing on the cake. Playoff hockey is the best time of the year.”

The Mustangs open the 2022-23 season on the road at UNE on Oct. 16, and play their first home game Nov. 2 against Thomas at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

The Central Maine Community College men’s hockey team gets ready for a game against the University of Maine club hockey team on Jan. 26, 2020, at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. RAM Sports Photography

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