|MSU played Bowling Green in 2009. Could the |
Falcons be a WCHA rival for the Mavericks in 2013?
In two years, the hockey teams left behind following the departure of schools to the Big Ten and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference could be forming their own "super league." On Thursday, the WCHA's remaining teams invited the five remaining CCHA teams to join forces for 2013-14.
Alaska and Lake Superior State already have accepted the offer,
WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod told the St. Cloud Times that this is not a merger of the WCHA and CCHA. This is an invitation to join the WCHA. No matter what you call it, it's the end of the CCHA, which has been around for 40 years.
As it stands current, the WCHA will have
Interestingly, the nine schools are all Division II schools that have Division I hockey programs. Western Michigan and Bowling Green are Division I across the board. An MSU official recently told me that it would be nice to have a DI school in the WCHA, as it would give the league a vote during NCAA DI meetings.
The decision appears to be a good one for the health of college hockey. And, in light of the potential damage done to the sport by the Big Ten and the NCHC it was good of the WCHA school presidents to invite everyone, rather than just pick and choose from the scraps (still, this makes me curious about the future of Alabama-Huntsville).
There are many things to work out, of course. Scheduling should be interesting, with two Alaska teams, three in Upper Michigan and one in the lower part of the state. There will be talks about a conference tournament format, bylaws and finances. Also, fans of the current WCHA teams will have to learn about their new rivals. One bad thing about the death of the CCHA will be the loss of an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. The extra at-large bid might be tough for the WCHA to cling to, while the Big Ten and the NCHC will be licking their chops for it.