College hockey's newest, superest, breakawayest conference will be called the NATIONAL COLLEGIATE HOCKEY CONFERENCE, it was announced Wednesday at a press conference in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The open event didn't last long. It was mostly introductions, a brief history of the locale's connection to college hockey and a handful of softball questions directed at Denver coach George Gwozdecky and North Dakota athletic director Brian Faison (hopefully, more got asked during the one-on-one time allowed to media after the main event).
Both thanked the WCHA and CCHA and promised that the NCHC's team's will continue to be committed members of those leagues until they begin play in 2013-14. There were a couple of interesting nuggets, however:
• Faison said schools began having conversations about a new league as early as last falland that the league was not formed in haste.. This might have been the most surprising news of the day.
• Gwozdecky said the reasons for the new league included "uncertainty going forward, especially in scheduling and recruiting." He also mentioned that this is about "what makes the game better and what enhances hockey for these institutions."
• Faison said the league's steps include: 1. Setting up a nonprofit corporation. 2. Hiring a conference commissioner. 3. Researching and vetting additional members (Notre Dame is being pursued). 4. Media opportunities.
Meanwhile the WCHA finally issued a statement about the new league. You can read that here. Some comments from commissioner Bruce McLeod:
• "Obviously, it's a tough day for the WCHA and a sad one for me personally, and it's one that is not easy to put into perspective. We wish everyone well, but make no mistake, the (WCHA) is not going away. ..."
• "Our remaining institutions — Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State — are absolutely committed to both Division 1 hockey and the WCHA, and as an association we will continue — as we always have — to provide a first-class product. ..."
• "As regards to our future, the WCHA has a short-term plan that we will implement immediately. In the long term, we will continue to formulate a strategic approach that will ensure the well-being of the association and its member teams for the long run. As a group, we remain committed and we are 100% confident our future remains bright."