Tuesday, June 12, 2012

WCHA still seeking postseason home

With Monday's announcement that the NCHC will hold its championship weekend at Target Center in Minneapolis for the next five years and the Big Ten's decision to split their first four tournaments between the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, the WCHA is left as the only conference still looking for a postseason home following the big shakeup coming a year from now.

The WCHA will hold three days of meetings in Detroit starting today and is expected to discuss the issue. Minnesota State athletic director Kevin Buisman doesn't expect an announcement to come directly out of the meeting but the plan is to get closer to a decision.

"We have to consider what's best for the league," Buisman said.

A lot of things need to be considered, Buisman said, including proper size of venue, finances, fan and athlete experience and competition, among others.

"The biggest challenge might be trying to rectify all of those factors," he said. "Some of them are competing priorities. How do we weigh those priorities? We haven't stumbled on a solution that balances all of those qualities."

Read more about it here.

Considering the size and popularity of the teams leaving the league as well as the geography of the revamped WCHA, there indeed seems to be no ideal location for the Final Five — or whatever the tournament will be called.

Should the league try to stay big at the start and consider going to the X and the Joe in opposite years of the Big Ten? Should it look at smaller venues in centralized, neutral sites like Duluth, Green Bay, Minneapolis, Milwaukee or the Chicago area? What about home sites, whether they're top seeds or pre-determined arenas?

What do you think?

Buisman, MSU President Richard Davenport, coach Mike Hastings and former coach/special assistant to the president Troy Jutting are attending the meetings.

Other items on the agenda include finalizing the league's first regular-season schedule, travel subsidies with the Alaska schools, postseason tournament format (including first round), the future of the league office and branding and marketing.


Sam said...

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there is an all-around solid choice for a WCHA tournament site.

I'd love to see the league alternate years with the Big Ten and play at the X and Joe Louis Arena. In reality, though, those venues will likely be far too big for a fan base that is surely going to be significantly reduced in size. Whether we want to admit it or not, most, if not all of the schools in the new WCHA play in smaller venues and boast modest attendance numbers.

I also HATE the idea of the tournament being hosted in a city like Duluth. What sense does it make to host a tournament in a city that is the hometown of one school that just bailed on the WCHA? Add in the fact that the venue that would be use would be UMD's home ice, and I think that idea is simply absurd. Here's hoping the league officials realize that too.

Like I said, I don't think there really is can't-miss venue site. If I had to vote, I think the best bet is going to be hosting the tourney at alternating neutral sites (Duluth not included), or simply hosting the tourney at some combination of WCHA arenas.

MSU Grad 97 said...

I agree about avoiding Duluth like the plague. No way they should get a dime out of this, or any other Big Ten or Other Conference location for that matter. I don't think it is the worst thing in the world to be at the XCel or Joe Louis - just close out the top of the bowl. I would much rather have that then have the Target Center as the place - karma works against the Other Conference with that and the UND Money Wasters name change as far as I am concerned. Funny how they claim they wanted such better arenas for their league then go to a baskeball arena for their conference championship - does anyone know reality over in that Other League? The other idea of having it at the highest seed or rotate it would be okay as well, but I think it would miss some of the fun of the bigger arenas.