MAAC hockey was founded in 1997. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference existed before then, but an NCAA regulation that forced all Division 1 institutions to participate at Division 1 in all sports compelled the MAAC to form a hockey conference. Of the charter members only Canisius, Fairfield and Iona were full members of the MAAC. The rest (American International, Connecticut, Holy Cross, Quinnipiac, and Sacred Heart, with Mercyhurst and Bentley, both of which joined later) were associate members. All the schools formerly played as part of the ECAC's "lower classification" structure.
The 1998-99 season was the first for MAAC hockey, but important news emerged during the second season with the NCAA announcement that the MAAC received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament starting with the 2001 tournament. Mercyhurst was the first team to reach the NCAA tournament via this route. In addition, Army joined the MAAC and began conference play in 2000. For MAAC hockey these joys did not last long. In 2003 core conference members Iona and Fairfield decided to end their hockey programs, leaving only Canisius as a full MAAC member playing hockey. This led to problems with the hockey schools in their attempts to get legislation approved by the MAAC, whose rules only allowed full members to vote. On June 30, 2003, the decision was made by the nine remaining schools to break with the MAAC and form a new hockey conference, the Atlantic Hockey Association.
|1998-99||MAAC started sponsoring hockey.
Conference formed by 8 teams:
|1999-00||Conference expanded to 10 teams, as Mercyhurst joined from ECAC West and Bentley was an independent.|
|2000-01||Army joined, previously a member of College Hockey America.|
|2002-03||Fairfield and Iona announced the end of their hockey programs following the season. The remaining schools leave the MAAC and form Atlantic Hockey.|