But "The National" is not getting its most coveted school, it appears — Notre Dame — so it looks like it's dipping back into the WCHA for more and inviting St. Cloud State to join the breakaway league. Reports out of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Grand Forks, N.D., say that St. Cloud is expected to accept the offer.
Since North Dakota, Denver, Colorado College, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha announced they were leaving the WCHA to form the new league with Miami over the summer, St. Cloud State has been a part of the conversations to help keep the WCHA together. That included getting CCHA leftovers Northern Michigan, Alaska, Lake Superior State and Ferris State to join the league. Western Michigan was also invited, as was Bowling Green (there's probably a good chance Bowling Green will be in now).
After the NCHC's initial press conference, St. Cloud State president was vocal about his school not being part of the new league, saying: "The NCHC doesn't look like such a sweet deal for all of these teams." And: "We expected to be in conversations about (the NCHC). But as we looked at it ... we intended to say no."
This is a big blow to the remaining WCHA. St. Cloud State would have been a good rival for Minnesota State and Bemidji State and would have been a good balance, especially travel-wise, for a conference that would have had three Minnesota schools, two Alaska schools and four Michigan schools.
When all is said and done, the WCHA will be left with four current members in two years — MSU, Michigan Tech, Alaska-Anchorage and Bemidji State.
This also begs the question: If the NCHC is taking away six of the WCHA's remaining 10 teams (after the formation of the Big Ten) and if the WCHA commissioner had permission to expand and invite Miami and Notre Dame (presumably while several schools already were conspiring to form a new league), what exactly is the point of the new league? To change leadership? To bump off the little guys — MSU, Tech, Bemidji and Anchorage? To be "National"?
So, if all goes down as predicted, here's what the western conferences will look like (remember this all started almost exactly one year ago when Penn State announced it was adding hockey!).
Lake Superior State
St. Cloud State