Elms College Athletics to Join Great Northeast Athletic Conference This Fall
CHICOPEE — Elms College and the Great Northeast Athletic Conference announced that the Blazers’ GNAC core membership will begin this fall with the upcoming 2021-22 academic year.
Last October, both the institution and the league office issued a joint announcement indicating Elms would join the GNAC with the 2022-23 academic year; however, that timeline has since been adjusted.
Elms had been a member of the New England College Conference since 2007, claiming 19 league championships while leading the way in All-Academic selections.
“It was the right time to make the move,” said Elms College Director of Athletics Michael Theulen. “We are looking forward to having all of our varsity sport programs in the same league, and to competing with other institutions so closely aligned with Elms’s mission, core values, and dedication to putting equal importance on both academic integrity and athletic opportunity.”
The Blazers’ swimming and diving programs have been associate members of GNAC since 2006, last competing at the 2020 GNAC championships just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Now all 17 sport programs will compete in the same conference, including baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, as well as men’s and women’s volleyball.
“The GNAC is a natural fit for Elms College, as seven other private Catholic colleges are currently among its member institutions,” said Elms College President Harry Dumay. “Also, our student athletes have competed with GNAC institutions in various sports both in and out of conference, and already feel at home with its level of competitiveness, sportspersonship, and camaraderie.”
GNAC Commissioner Joe Walsh, the conference office, and current members are working diligently to make scheduling adjustments to accommodate the Blazers’ programs, as Elms will now begin its GNAC journey this fall with men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s golf, and women’s volleyball.
“We are most pleased at the opportunity to offer a first-class student-athlete experience for Elms’ programs beginning this fall,” Walsh said.