In terms of scheduling, league commissioner Bruce McLeod touched on a three "pod" system with four teams in a pod that will maintain natural rivalries as well as the 28-game schedule. If I have this correct, I'll use Minnesota State as an example:
Currently, MSU's "rival" is Alaska-Anchorage, meaning the Mavs and the Seawolves always play each other four times. That would continue and two other teams would rotate into the pod each season. MSU would play those teams four times (two home, two away) each, which adds up to 12 games. The Mavs would then play the other eight teams twice each -- four at home and four on the road -- for 16 games.
McLeod said it would take five years for the rotation to go all the way around. In the current two-pod system, it takes four years.
If this goes through, Minnesota State should lobby to get a new "rival," in my opinion. Offer to take Bemidji State. If the 12th team is Nebraska-Omaha, that would be fine, too -- it would certainly make the Spirit of the Maverick Trophy more important. If that team is Northern Michigan, Michigan Tech would likely get a new rival, possibly putting Minnesota Duluth with Bemidji State.
Here are the current "rivals"The other thing that came out of the 12-team scenario is the Final Five. Will it have to be called the Final Six? Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?
Minnesota Duluth-Michigan Tech
North Dakota-St. Cloud State
One way the tournament could work is to have two Thursday play-in games with those teams playing in the semifinals against the top two seeds on Friday. The championship game would be Saturday.
Under that example, you could still call it the Final Five. Coaches hate the third-place game, so get rid of it and you still have five games. Instead of it being the last five WCHA teams standing, it will note the last five WCHA games of the season.