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Eastern Collegiate Hockey League loses some punch

The ACHA reports that three time defending division champions (and current leaders) Robert Morris will be leaving the league to join the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League next season. The Colonials will join Delaware, Penn State, Rhode Island, and West Chester. The teams remaining in the ECHL will be Buffalo, Niagara, Syracuse, Canton, Rochester, RIT, and Mercyhurst. The move will greatly benefit the ESCHL who is losing Navy and Drexel after this season.

While it's a shame for the division to lose a strong team geographically it makes sense for everybody involved.

View ECHL / NECHL MAP in a larger map2010-2011 ECHL Schools in Blue, Robert Morris in Red (leaving ECHL after this season), NEHCL in Purple, and Penn State Berks (leaving NECHL after this season) in Yellow
Robert Morris is one of two schools which are a significant hike from other ECHL schools. With Robert Morris leaving the ECHL the mean distance between the remaining schools decreases greatly and six members is still a reasonable number (though it will be one of the smaller, and weaker, leagues left in the ACHA).

Robert Morris has been the class of the ECHL (40-1-0-2 in their last 43 contest) and you hate to lose that level of play but this has to be some pressure taken off of already thin budgets that Club Hockey has to operate within. Perhaps the ECHL can poach Ithaca or Saint Bonaventure, they are not high powered clubs but having cross town, or even WNY based teams might help with attendance and building a rivalry.