Wednesday, September 21, 2011

NCHC makes it official

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference made it official around noon on Wednesday announcing that it indeed is inviting Western Michigan and St. Cloud State to the league. I'm hoping to get some Minnesota State reaction today:

Here is the announcement:

National Collegiate Hockey Conference Extends Membership Invitations to St. Cloud State and Western Michigan

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The National Collegiate Hockey Conference today announced that it has invited St. Cloud State University and Western Michigan University to join the new Division I men’s hockey conference which will begin play in the 2013-14 season.

St. Cloud State, located in St. Cloud, Minn., and a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, and Western Michigan, located in Kalamazoo, Mich., and currently competing in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, would join conference founding members Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Nebraska Omaha, and University of North Dakota. 

“After a thorough and deliberate evaluation process, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference is delighted to extend invitations to St. Cloud State and Western Michigan to become members of what we believe will be the premier college hockey conference in the United States,” said Brian Faison, director of athletics at North Dakota and spokesperson for The National’s Athletic Directors Committee.

“Both universities fit perfectly with the established goals of our conference membership,” said Faison. “Their programs are highly competitive and produce quality student-athletes. Each institution has made significant commitments to the continued success of their hockey programs and they are both located in tradition-rich hockey states. St. Cloud State and Western Michigan, with their passionate fans, will add a great deal to The National and we look forward to welcoming them.”

“With the launch of the inaugural season for The National just two years away, and with greater clarity regarding membership, we are confident the strength of our schedules and the success of our teams will produce outstanding hockey with regional and national appeal, and strong contenders for the national championship on an annual basis,” Faison added.

In addition to advancing its membership process, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference has been conducting a national search for its first commissioner and expects to have its top executive in place by the end of the calendar year.


Sam said...

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse. It's almost like everything has gone back to the way it used to be for MSU hockey. They're essentially in a D2 hockey conference again.

I hope Kevin Buisman, Richard Davenport, and the rest of the MSU brass are satisfied. The one relevant college sports team the university had is now firmly entrenched as no-name program once again.

As always, I'll forever support my MSU Mavs, but talk about a devastating turn of events. We've essentially hit rock bottom in the D1 hockey world.

Hagar said...

I can't wait to hear MSU's reaction. I'm sure they'll sugar coat it and spin it around saying that it will somehow be all fine and dandy. But this is a big disapointment for me as a MSU hockey fan.

I would really like to see a real comparison of what the hockey budgets are for all WCHA schools. A lot of people have said that MSU has one of the smallest, but I would like to see some real numbers.

Then I would like to hear how President Davenport explains how MSU hockey can be successful given that comparison (that is if they truly are towards the bottom of the league).

This year's hockey team should take this personal. If this doesn't motivate them, then nothing will.

Shane Frederick said...

So ... uh ... why is this MSU's fault?

Nation said...

Their argument is that Minnesota State did not invest enough in the hockey program. The argument is that the university was satisfied with being an average to below average hockey club. The university didn't spend the money to be competitive and now this is the situation we are in. We are the best team in one of the worst conferences in the country and we have lost all of our local rivalries.

Nation said...

It is a sad day for Minnesota State hockey.

MSU Grad 97 said...

It could go one of two ways on this - MSU could rule the conference and get a lot of recruits who want to win, or they could just be average like they are now. One thing is for sure - they just became a lot stronger in the NSIC - Duluth and St. Cloud (if they accept, remember they said they would decline the offer this summer) will be forced by throw-every-other-sport-away North Dakota and Denver to commit only to this sport. MSU outdrew D-I North Dakota by over 500 fans last year if I saw the attendance figures correct - this was not true in the D-II days. Now they are pretty much dedicating themselves to the hockey part. BSU, WSU, and Augustana should definately benefit from this.

Sam said...

Nation hit the nail on the head.

When your entire school administration seems completely apathetic to investing in their athletic programs, other universities will take notice. In turn, it really shouldn't surprise us that MSU is being left behind on the scrap heap.

I'd love to hear what former Mavericks have to say about all of this. It'd be great to hear what MSU's finest, David Backes, thinks of this debacle.

MSUMaverickFan said...

Shane, until the University is willing to take at least some responsibility for what's happened, there will be no measurable improvement. In Division 1 athletics, tough decisions need to be made. We've stood idle in the face of disappointment, and learned a brutal lesson. In some respects, you can really only be as good as your expectations. MSU’s expectations have declined, and are probably at an all-time low. Many pollsters will pick MSU dead last in the conference in this Troy Jutting's 12th year at the helm. Although it may be too little too late, MSU desperately needs to heighten expectations.

We need to re-define success. Minnesota State has been to the conference tournament once in 11 years. That’s one measure of success. Keep in mind you only need to win one lousy series to get there. We’ve achieved home ice in the conference playoffs only twice in that same span. So, in my opinion, aside from some thrilling home victories sprinkled throughout, we have failed in 9 out of 12 seasons, and we’ve only truly succeeded in one magical season, 2002-2003, a season where we had the opportunity to play for the ultimate prize. Ten years removed, Minnesota State is in a dark place, and hasn’t touched that level of achievement since.

Now we’ve been blindsided by a change in the hockey landscape. Now it’s survival of the fittest. Now we learn what the league really thinks of Mankato. In the creation of a new conference which is undoubtedly the future of elite hockey in the country, Minnesota State has been left behind. Left behind with like-minded D-II institutions with similar philosophy. You want to play with the big dogs? Start acting like a big dog. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money - in fact that’s always the case. Invest in the program, yes. Send a clear message of the type of program we want to be. In the end, I’ll think back a decade ago, to a time when Mankato was right on the cusp of becoming a big time hockey community. No joke - this is a great hockey town! It’s just a town that turns out to see winning hockey, successful hockey, for which you can’t blame us.

I’m never a fan of rash decisions or over-reactions, but I must say Troy Jutting’s tenure had better be in serious jeopardy. It’s about sending a message as to what’s acceptable and what’s not. This level of ineptitude shouldn’t be rewarded. It feels like fire and brimstone raining down right now. I’m not really sure what the future holds, and I can’t stop thinking about how we got ourselves into this mess. When Maverick hockey is on it’s death bed perhaps the rosebud moment will be a whisper of Dean Blais. If we could have got him, would we be in this hole now?

Rich said...

It looks like I won't renew my season tickets in a couple of years. Why should I pay good money to see below average teams? Plus, it is MSU's fault for having a sub-par hockey team. They keep on bringing Jutting back and he hasn't produced a winner. Being competitive doesn't mean wins or putting fans in the stands. Recruiting will suffer as well.