Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another breakaway — St. Cloud State?

Well, it appears Western Michigan finally made up its mind, and it's decided to go to the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference instead of the WCHA. That is not a big surprise.

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!).

Minnesota State
Bemidji State
Michigan Tech
Northern Michigan
Lake Superior State
Ferris State
Alaska (Fairbanks)
Bowling Green

North Dakota
Colorado College
Minnesota Duluth
St. Cloud State
Western Michigan

Michigan State
Ohio State
Penn State


rlpeterson91784 said...

I am a St. Cloud State fan. I can't decide if this is great news or horrible news, but it is most definitely one of those extremes. Thanks for the update!

MSUMaverickFan said...

Average WCHA finish since 2000

Denver - 3
North Dakota - 3.1
Minnesota - 3.7
Colorado College - 3.8
Wisconsin - 4.5
St. Cloud - 4.9
Minnesota-Duluth - 6.6
Minnesota State - 6.9
Alaska Anchorage - 8.6
Michigan Tech - 9

Natural selection. You reap what you sow, Maverick fans. In the end we've got to find a way to win. We took the greatest league in college hockey for granted, in my opinion. Now we're seeing it come full circle. It's becoming painfully clear they were just trimming fat all along. This has become an armageddon like summer for Maverick hockey.

USAFA Bulldog said...

It's hard to know the point of the NCHC, I'm still trying to figure out the point, but you may have hit on it:

"what exactly is the point of the new league? To change leadership?"

There's been rumors around that some of the teams haven't been happy about the leadership. Maybe they could have just forced a leadership change, but maybe they didn't have the votes necessary?

Hard to know if rumors are true.