Notre Dame hockey program joining Hockey East

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Notre Dame is leaving the Central Collegiate Hockey Association for Hockey East, effective with the 2013-14 season.

The Fighting Irish announced the move Wednesday. Notre Dame, which has been a member of the CCHA since 1992, will become the 11th member of Hockey East. Current members include Boston College, Boston University, Maine, UMass, UMass-Lowell, Merrimack, New Hampshire, Northeastern, Providence and Vermont.

Conference realignment is shaking up college hockey.

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association has invited five teams from the CCHA to join in two years, when the Big Ten starts its hockey league. The new National Collegiate Hockey Conference will also begin play that year with eight schools.

At least 18 of the 58 teams currently playing NCAA Division I hockey -- 31 percent -- will change conferences by 2013.