Getting caught up on a few hockey stories from the week so far ...
Let's start with some non-realignment stuff. The Calgary Flames posted this video of former Maverick Tim Jackman talking about last season. He had his best year in the NHL, playing in all 82 games and compiling 10 goals, 13 assists and 86 PIMs.
Looks like Eric Rud is going back to being a WCHA assistant coach. The former Colorado College standout is returning to his alma mater to be an assistant for Scott Owens. He's already served one stint as an assistant there before going to the St. Cloud State bench for five years. Most recently, he worked as the head coach of the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers (coaching a couple of Minnesota State recruits). It seems like an interesting career path for Rud, whose name had been linked to head coaching gigs at Michigan Tech and Western Michigan, unless this means he's the heir apparent at CC.
I wonder how Minnesota State feels about the consulting fees being thrown around by other MnSCU schools. Minnesota State-Moorhead is paying $60,000 for a consultant to help with its run to get Division I hockey. Earlier this year, St. Cloud State hired Gino Gasparini for $90,000. By the way, that $90K is getting a little more scrutiny now that the Huskies are among the leftovers not going to the new NCHC.
As for the possibility of Moorhead ever getting into the WCHA if it indeed meets its goals, Bruce McLeod says that it's way too early to make a commitment.
The WCHA is expected to formally add Northern Michigan for 2013-14 on Wednesday. The league needs to get a vote of all 12 teams (yes, including those who are leaving) to approve a motion to allow the remaining teams — MSU, St. Cloud State, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Alaska-Anchorage — the ability to conduct business as it pertains to issues after the 2012-13 season.
McLeod said getting a sixth team was a must but that eight teams would be ideal. In a New York Times story, he said that two other programs have made inquiries. However, he declined to name them. It seems likely that Alaska (Fairbanks) would be one of them. I'm speculating here, but it seems like Western Michigan would make some sense — although, publicly, WMU officials have said they'd like to do what Notre Dame does (will they eve have that option?).
As for some other leftover teams, it looks like the CCHA is having discussions with Atlantic Hockey about the future. College Hockey News reports that Atlantic Hockey schools Robert Morris, Niagara, Canisius and Mercyhurst are exploring joining the CCHA, which will have Bowling Green, Lake Superior State and Ferris State remaining (providing, of course, that Alaska, Western Michigan and Notre Dame are heading out).
More PucKato guesswork here, but if that move happens, Air Force, which currently plays in Atlantic Hockey, will be looking for a home. It seems like that would be a good fit for the WCHA. Also, what's to become of Alabama-Huntsville? It seems like someone ought to bring them in now.
To listen to some good talk about the sport's changes, listen to this podcast on Inside College Hockey (special thanks to the INCH fellas for plugging my column from last week; by the way, here's a link to this week's column).
Finally, I'm not sure where else they would be going or if this was even a question but Minnesota State last week reaffirmed its commitment to the WCHA. So they've got that going for them.