The Rick Bennett era for Union College hockey begins on October 8th.  That's when the Dutchmen open up the season for their new head coach.

The 2011-12 Union schedule includes 34 contests against 10 non-league opponents and the 11 members of ECAC Hockey.

The Dutchmen will play five non-conference road games against teams that made the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Union will travel to New Hampshire, Michigan, Merrimack, Denver, and Colorado College.

Union, which won the Cleary Cup as the ECAC Hockey regular season champion and earned its first NCAA Tournament bid in the Division I era in 2010-11, opens the season with a road contest at Army on October 8th.

Bennett takes over for Nate Leaman, the school's all-time winningest coach, who left to take the head coaching position at Providence in April.

The following weekend, the Dutchmen will host Western Michigan in a two-game series at Messa Rink on October 14-15. Union continues non-conference play with a weekend in western New York against Niagara (Oct. 21) and RIT (Oct. 22).

The Dutchmen will take on perennial Hockey East power New Hampshire on Oct. 28 before returning home to face AIC on Oct. 29.

Union will open up league play with the North Country trip, as they take on St. Lawrence (Nov. 4) and Clarkson (Nov. 5) before returning home to face Brown (Nov. 11) and Yale (Nov. 12).

Union will travel to Troy to take on RPI in a rare Tuesday night contest on Nov. 15. After a weekend off, the Dutchmen head to defending CCHA regular season champion Michigan to face the Wolverines for the first time in program history on Nov. 27 at 5:05 p.m.

After returning home to face Quinnipiac (Dec. 2) and Princeton (Dec. 3), Union will take on RPI in Lake Placid for the second consecutive year on Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. The team will then take two more road trips to round out non-conference play. The first will be to Merrimack, coming off its best season in program history, on Dec. 17. The second will be a two-game Colorado trip to face Denver on Dec. 30 at 7:35 p.m. (MT) and Colorado College on New Year’s Eve at 7:07 p.m. (MT).

As usual, Union closes out the regular season with a long stretch of ECAC Hockey games. The Dutchmen host a weekend set against Harvard and Dartmouth (Jan 6-7) before a road/home split the following weekend (Jan. 13-14) against Harvard and RPI.

Union travels to Yale and Brown (Jan. 20-21), Dartmouth (Feb. 10), and Cornell and Colgate (Feb. 24-25) for the remainder of its road slate, while hosting Clarkson and St. Lawrence (Jan. 27-28), Colgate and Cornell (Feb. 3-4) and Princeton and Quinnipiac (Feb. 17-18) at Messa Rink.