If Big Ten Forms; DU Needs To Bolt WCHA ASAP

The long-rumored addition of Penn State to the Division I hockey lineup appears to be near reality. Penn State will add varsity hockey programs, sources have confirmed.

That news, first reported Sunday by Insidecollegehockey.com, does not merely add a 59th program to the Division I men’s landscape. It adds a sixth Big Ten Conference team, a development that has set other wheels in motion.

At a meeting late last week, WCHA coaches discussed the potential of a Big Ten hockey league starting in the near future, and how that would impact their league, sources said. Sources indicated that the hot topic of speculation at the WCHA meeting was that the 2014-15 season is a potential start date for the Big Ten in hockey.

The best scenario is for DU, North Dakota, Miami, Notre Dame, CC and Duluth to unite and cut loose the other Minnesota schools.

Another possibility to entice Minnesota & Wisconsin to remain out west, would be to form an eight team Western Conference with Minnesota, Wisconsin, CC, DU, Duluth, Minnesota State, North Dakota and SCSU. This would free up non-conference slots for the Big Ten schools to play each other.

As I said all along, bringing in Bemidji State was a HUGE mistake for the WCHA, and especially for DU and CC. Diluting the league has put DU in a really tenuous position trying work a deal to prevent the Gophers and Badgers from leaving.

Credit: USCHO.com

28 comments:

Aluuum said...

WE could see something like this coming as soon as that Boston guy Kelly? was appointed to revitalize college hockey two years ago.. He is an ambitious goal oriented individual, not necessarily a bad thing for college hockey. It does need more exposure.
There is more to come.The next couple of years will be interesting.Lets hope we don't lose Minnesota and Wisconsin which is a definite possibility.

Anonymous said...

I see this, and it makes me think 2 things:

1. A Big Ten Hockey Conference is the best thing for college hockey.

2. A Big Ten Hockey Conference is the worst thing for DU, CC, UND.

If the Big Ten were to form a conference with the 6 schools (I've included Penn State) that have hockey, I think Illinois would soon follow, making it 7 teams. I would be surprised if the other schools didn't follow suit as well.

As far as exposure and money goes, it would be fantastic for NCAA hockey to have a full Big Ten Conference.

That said, DU, CC, and UND would have trouble recruiting kids. Obviously, CC would have the biggest trouble surviving the fallout after the forming of a Big Ten hockey conference because they haven't done anything of note in over 50 years. UND and DU can survive on tradition at least for a few years depending on how things pan out.

The WCHA would lose two of its most important teams in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The WCHA would be smart to court Miami to help fill that void, which they should be willing to do if the Big Ten poached most of the class in the CCHA (Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, .

dggoddard said...

A conference that includes Notre Dame, Miami, DU, North Dakota, CC and UMD is going to be very competitive.

A conference tourney held in Grand Forks will sell out.

The BTHC with MN, WI, PSU, UM, MSU & Ohio State is going to have some issues. Hockey is at best only a third tier sport at those schools. Some of their fans are going to be turned off and the inevitable higher ticket prices will also cost them fans.

dggoddard said...

Quite frankly, a six team or eight team conference with (UND, Notre Dame, CC, Miami, DU and UMD) is better for DU than the "new" WCHA with 12 teams. More prime opponents at Magness, more non-conference games against the elite of the East, more games against Air Force and most important less games against "no name opponents."

du78 said...

DU will go where the money will be best. That will probably be with North Dakota, CC, UMD, Notre Dame, Miami, etc.

JTtheConqueror said...

more great news for North Dakota
http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/ncaa/resources/latest+news/2010+news+stories/september+latest+news/ncaa+statement+on+university+of+north+dakota+mascot+status
I wonder if they plan on being the Fighting Indigenous People?

Anonymous said...

Any chance Penn State would move to Hockey East?

Donald Dunlop said...

LOL

Anonymous said...

Whenever my college hockey world looks like it's falling apart, I read DG's comments and I feel like everything will be okay. Whewww... Still, this potential WCHA unravel makes me nervous.

Actually, it's interesting to compare the growth of Big Ten hockey with last year's rumors of Coach Gwoz leaving for Wisconsin. Do you think Penn State will try to snag him?

On another note, I was hoping the series of football conference realignments this summer was going to get DU's other sports out of Sun Belt and into the West Coast Conference or the Mountain West Conference. I guess not, huh?

puck swami said...

Stay tuned on all fronts.

I can't see DU, UND or CC staying put in a hobbled WCHA without UW or Minnesota, nor Miami or Notre Dame staying put in a crippled CCHA without Michigan, MSU or OSU. Once the Big Ten happens in hockey, I think you will see other teams try to better their situation. I would think DU would be talking with UND, CC, Notre Dame, Miami and maybe UMD or UNO about a breakway.

On the hoops front, I think DU will leave the Sun Belt as soon as the WAC and or the WCC decide what they are going to do. DU will press both leagues hard for a spot, and will likely end up in one or the other. The WCC would be the primo choice, and even a hobbled WAC would be likely be a better option than the Sun Belt. The WCC will need to be convinced that Denver is the right option, while the WAC would do well to include us in their planning.

Anonymous said...

Oh My God!!!! The Sky is falling!!!

Why is everything a doomsday scenario here in Denver?

Anonymous said...

Because we're at such high elevation the sky is much closer to us than most people in the world, and even a slight dip in sky height would perhaps have catastrophic consequences.

It's a very delicate ecosystem.

Donald Dunlop said...

Swami,
Really? Because they'll have some marginally reduced revenue from not having the Goofs and bucky come to town? I'd bet you'd be surprised if you ran an attendance comparison between DU's non-big ten opponents and big-ten opponents.

Even at 500 less fans per home game (and it will not be that high) DU loses out on revenue from 2000 empty seats a year. That threatens to break DU's back so seriously that you really believe it's in your adminstrations best interest to pursue a BHHC?

That may be all well and good in the long run. Let's just have a free for all eh? School versus school to see who can line up the sweetest new conferences? I think UAA and UAF might be willing to play that game.

Good luck to DU with CC and Air Force and Omaha and Miami and SCSU. That is if you could get CC's interest.

UDenver20 said...

I agree with DG... this GREAT news.

Last year we thought college hockey would shrink to 57 programs (with the potential loss of BGSU).

Now we're talking about a 59th program at PSU. Indiana is rumored to be adding a program in 2012. Navy adding a program was supposedly tied to hosting the Frozen Four in DC in 2009. And maybe CSU still has slightly better than a snowball's chance as well.

And even if the sky does fall on the WCHA, maybe DU's administration will actually do something proactive and strategic for a change (stop laughing...). But in the (more probable) case that they don't see this coming from a mile away, DU will most likely end up with a steady stream of non-conference games against... yep, Minnesota & Wisconsin.

As for CC... who cares?

Anonymous said...

LOL!!!!!! What an ignorant blog post.

Blame it on Bemidji?? GIVE ME A FREAKIN BREAK!!!!

Hockey East is not a small conference with loads of OOC games to schedule. If anything, DU would probably end up with more games against Canisius and such -- not just your "eastern powers".

Trust me, a 6 team WCHA a la the early '80s DOES NOT BENEFIT ANYONE!!! And that included Minny and Bucky.

In all honesty (as a DU fan) was this blog post written while wearing a tinfoil hat???

Puck swami said...

It isn't gate revenue as much as it means a loss of WCHA tourney revenue (about 100k) a year, a huge loss in recruiting, a loss of TV exposure and the loss of clout.

A weakened WCHA turns Denver from an elite program into a midmajor.

Donald Dunlop said...

Swams,
So it tips the ice surface leveling scales slightly away from DU's ultimate best interest?

Do you think the progressive DU administration is for a minute going to consider acting in such a provincial manner?

If DU can't line up 6,000 hardcore full-time fans in a metro area of 2.5 million ... then perhaps it's reputation is far more smoke and mirrors than substantial. Give us that tradition of winning here in Anchorage and I guarantee that 300K+ folks up here will put 6K in seats every game.

Maybe DU should consider moving like the old Colorado Rockies when they went to New Jersey. I heard there a few urban blocks that could do with some development and lucky DU .. it's right across the street from Princeton.

What more could the Ylae of the west want?

puck swami said...

DU's best hockey interest lies in trying to keep up with upper echelon of the sport. DU has invested well over $100 million in hockey the last 15 years to be nationally relevant, and they need to prostect and enhance their investment.

It's either run with the big dogs or stay on the porch...

Donald Dunlop said...

Swami,
I certainly can't fault DU for pursuing it's own self-interest. But as a long standing members of a niche sport that has never really taken off there is also some small measure of consideration for what is best for the sport overall. Such consideration separates greedy provincial action from a more measured approach.

And in this case there is an extremely measured approach that forestalls any flirting with such ideas as a BHHC. The WCHA and the CCHA should drop their mandated number of conference games to accommodate the needs of Big Ten schools. The Ivy league exists within the structure of existing conferences. No reason whatsoever that won't happen with the BTHC schools.

The possibility that such a solution will be how this plays out ... pretty good. The possibility that a new BHHC will arise forcing UAA and UAF to steal opponents off of DU's non-BHHC schedule ... about the same as the Neutron Star 8,000ly away spewing a gamma ray burst at Earth.

So there's that.

Anonymous said...

Damn Donald! Why are you always trolling here. Get a life you fat jerk!

Donald Dunlop said...

Anonymous @ 604:
Go fuck yourself since your sister won't do it anymore. And leave your goddamned mother alone you fucking freak.

Big people are talking about things that your insipid little brain couldn't begin to comprehend.

By the way you dickless anonymous little purveyor of joy ... I'm 5'10" 220lbs ... which for sure is about 25lbs over the weight I'd like to be.

How about we have all the commenters here post their heights/weights eh? DG can you get us started off?

Also, do us all the courtesy of picking some sort of moniker for what I'm sure will be some lovely interactions throughout the upcoming season. You don't have to do anything more than select the "Name/URL" box and type in BrainDeadSquirrelFuckingNitwit ... or something like that.

You'll even get 40 Internet points for doing it.

puck swami said...

Donald brings value to all of his message boards - sure he's sometimes provacative, but he's always offering an interesting point of view.

And to an extent, he's right about provincialism. DU very well could keep quiet, do nothing and play in lesser WCHA to keep the sport closer togerher if UW and Minnesota leave. If survival is the goal, then that's the right course of action.

I guess I want my school to thrive and not just survive. I believe that if those Big 10 schools do leave, the gloves have come off -- they are are being proactive about their futures, and with the investment DU has made in big time hockey, DU needs to defend itself by taking a proactive course of action.

Donald Dunlop said...

Wow DG,
You deleted my response to an anonymous troll calling me a fat jerk?

What did I do? Was there perhaps some inferences regarding the troll and his disgusting pursuit of incest with his mother?

So commenting on this blog is just like a high school fight? The winner gets punished and the loser doesn't? Ok ... loud and clear brother.

Or was it my request that every commenter reveal their height and weight? Again ... I'm 5'10" and 220lbs ... yep 25lbs to reach a weight I'd be happy with at my age. How about everyone else? Don't be shy. Step up and show us where you fit on the "fat" part of the "fat jerk" scale eh?

Swami,
Sounds like a marketing problem to me. 2.5 million potential clients and DU can't get 5,000 of them to show up for the highest level of amateur hockey on the planet?

Doesn't matter anyway, a BTHC can easily live inside only a slightly modified WCHA and CCHA. It's just about the number of mandated games.

In perhaps more interesting news ... my word verification is "swambols". I shit you not.

Anonymous said...

"disgusting pursuit of incest with his mother?"

Well, nice to know where your mind is...

dggoddard said...

I didn't delete your comments Donald. I figured you removed them.

That being said, please don't use F-bombs. Say what you want about me or anyone else for that matter, but please keep it clean.

Anonymous said...

^^I see what you did there....

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why UMD gets included in all of these "stronger conferences". They have a .470 winning percentage over the past 10 seasons. If you're going to add just one team, you're probably better off with SCSU. They have a .580 winning percentage over the past 10 years.

Also, they have a history of scheduling stronger non-conference opponents. This year, for example, they have Miami (possibly) three times as well as NCAA darling RIT and Cornell. UMD's toughest NC opponent is Clarkson (whom SCSU also has).

Does it have something to do with finances? Otherwise, it seems an odd choice, but Puck Swami and dggoddard were both pretty consistent about it.

dggoddard said...

Duluth's new/renovated arena plays a big part in my speculation. They have a long WCHA history, better name recognition, NCAA Frozen Four appearances and perhaps a more loyal fanbase.

Their record isn't relevant because with the new arena they will recruit better players.

If an eight team league was to form, SCSU would 100% be in there. If it was only six teams, I think Duluth is more attractive than say SCSU, MSU-M or UNO.

But at the end of the day this is wild speculation. To me Notre Dame is the straw that stirs the drink. If they are willing to come West, DU has to make the jump.