Robert Morris

Twin successes make for true hockey school

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The Colonials celebrate another trip to the Atlantic Hockey's final four Saturday night. — JASON COHN / ROBERT MORRIS

There are 33 universities that offer both men's and women's Division I hockey. Robert Morris is one of them.

That alone was cause for celebration a decade ago, not long after former athletic director Susan Hofacre and university administration made a bet that adding the sport would lift the school's profile, with the nearest D-I hockey school -- Mercyhurst -- a two-hour drive north on Interstate 79.

Hofacre passed away from cancer in the midst of the first season for the men's hockey team, 2004-05, so she never got to see those Colonials make their first NCAA tournament in 2014, or tack on back-to-back Atlantic Hockey Conference regular-season titles afterward, or witness the debut of the women's team at all.