Brad Schlossman's Grand Forks Herald article about the possibility of another exodus out of the WCHA in 2013 certainly raises a lot of questions. Here are a few that PucKato has ...
1. Competitively, the WCHA should still be pretty strong without Minnesota and Wisconsin. With North Dakota, Denver, Minnesota Duluth (the national champs), Nebraska-Omaha and Colorado College, that's a pretty strong upper tier. As for the rest, St. Cloud State, Bemidji State and Minnesota State have been to NCAA tournaments. So, really, what's the problem?
2. The idea of a power conference has always bugged me. Hey, North Dakota, Denver, Nebraska-Omaha, Colorado College, Notre Dame and Miami and others: You realize someone's going to finish last, right? When's the last time that happened to you in your current league? You realize that you can't all make the NCAA tournament every year, right?
3. If there is a string running through the schools rumored to be in a new league, it's that they're the remaining western, across-the-board Division I schools, right? Well, except that Colorado College is Division III, and another DI school, Bowling Green, is never mentioned in these scenarios. Why? From a rivalry standpoint, CC probably needs to do whatever Denver does.
4. Schlossman's article mentions the conference being made of remaining hockey powers. Why wouldn't Minnesota Duluth be considered? (Or are they?) The Bulldogs are, after all, defending national champions, and they also have a brand-spankin'-new arena. Plus, coach Scott Sandelin is now being paid like a coach at one of those others schools now after making approximately the same as MSU's Troy Jutting last season.
5. Where will the money come from? The WCHA is already suffering a blow by losing the Gophers and the Badgers. As it stands, it's hard to imagine the conference's big money maker — the conference tournament and the Final Five — making as much money for the schools as it did before. What will happen after another pullout? It would be devastating to MSU and the remaining WCHA schools (basically the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Hockey Conference), but, other than having a conference tournament at Ralph Englestad Arena every year, how is this new conference expecting to rake in the dough — especially when you take all of the Minnesota fans out of the equation (there's a reason why the Final Five's been held in the Twin Cities since 1999)?
Finally, I opined a little more on this subject in Tuesday's Free Press. Read that column here. Long story short: The WCHA leadership can't allow the demise of the conference on their watch.