PucKato is getting a much-needed vacation and by the time I get back the WCHA could have 12 teams.
Reports out of Bemidji are that WCHA athletic directors will take a straw poll tonight to gauge their schools' interest in bringing both Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha into the league under terms negotiated by commissioner Bruce McLeod. An official vote by the schools' faculty representatives likely would take place later in the summer.
After tabling the Bemidji vote in hopes of getting a "12th school" involved last April, Omaha seemed to be the WCHA's target (although rumors out of Fairbanks hinted that Alaska might have shown some interest). Since then, Omaha hired former North Dakota coach Dean Blais to run the program. And, although both Blais and UNO athletic director Trev Alberts denied it, Let's Play Hockey was reporting that Blais came aboard with the understanding that the red Mavs would eventually change conferences.
Folks will be curious to see what the terms of UNO's move would be. Will the WCHA waive its entry fee or allow Omaha to get a cut of the Final Five money immediately? If that's the case, would Bemidji get the same sweet deal? And how would MSU feel about that? While it's a different time and a different circumstance now, MSU had to pay in about $40,000/year for three years and not get a cut of the tournament money over that same period as part of its entry and that was after a period of being an associate member of the conference.
More when I get back in a week or so ...