Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How about the WCHA for Arizona State?

Arizona State on Tuesday announced that it is upgrading its club hockey team to the NCAA Division I level, making official news that had been rumored and talked about throughout the year.

The move, made possible by $32 million in donations, will happen over the next two seasons, with the Sun Devils playing a hybrid schedule involving D-I and club programs next year, followed by an independent D-I schedule in 2016-17 and conference affiliation in 2017-18.

So where will Arizona State land? The WCHA, perhaps?

Commissioner Bill Robertson said in a phone interview shortly after the news broke that "the WCHA is very interested in Arizona State University. I can say that we have started discussions with their program."

Robertson hinted as much over the summer, shortly after taking the position. Not naming names, he said he had talked to "western" schools in regards to league and college-hockey expansion.

"Part of my vision is to grow the WCHA and college hockey," Robertson said on Tuesday. "There's a lot of potential in the sun belt for growth in college hockey."

Not surprisingly, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference has reached out, too, according to a report in the Grand Forks Herald.

"I think they would be a wonderful fit to our conference," Robertson said. "There's a process in place. That's all I can really say."

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