Inside College Hockey is reporting that Penn State is getting ready to announce that it will be adding men's and women's hockey to its selection of varsity sports. What does this mean for college hockey. Well, it means that there would be six teams (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penne State) from the Big Ten with men's hockey -- enough to qualify as a conference for an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
There has long been talk about a Big Ten hockey conference, especially since the advent of the Big Ten's television network, but, until a sixth team could be added to the fold, that was pretty much all it was -- talk. Now, it's looking more and more like a possibility that the Western Collegiate Hockey Association could be losing two of its signature programs in the coming years.
That would put the WCHA back to 10 teams (Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha are making it a 12-team league this year), and the CCHA would become an eight-team conference. The WCHA would remain strong, it seems, with powers like North Dakota and Denver and other perennial NCAA tournament teams like Colorado College, St. Cloud State, Minnesota Duluth, as well as Minnesota State, Bemidji, Omaha, Michigan Tech and Alaska-Anchorage.