Sunday, July 03, 2011

UND Looks To Pull Plug On WCHA Membership

The Grand Forks Herald is reporting that the University of North Dakota is weighing its options after Wisconsin and Minnasota leave the WCHA in the summer of 2014. Although not mentioned in the article, almost certainly the University of Denver would look to depart with UND to form a new conference made up of mostly Division 1 western hockey playing schools.
"UND is having formal discussions about pulling out of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and joining several other schools in creating a new power hockey league, multiple sources have told the Herald.

The move would blow up two of college hockey’s major conferences and vastly change the landscape of the sport for the 2013-14 season [read entire article]."

29 comments:

dggoddard said...

If you read the article it implies an eight team conference of DU, CC, Notre Dame, Boston College, Miami, North Dakota, Western Michigan & Nebraska-Omaha.

Notre Dame is clearly the straw that stirs the drink in this deal.

Seven league opponents would mean that DU would play every team in the conference twice at home and on the road for 28 league games.

Great "name brand" opponents coming into Magness Arena each weekend would be great news for DU hockey fans.

Se

Anonymous said...

ND may be the straw, but DU, CC, Miami and NoDak and BC will chew that straw to shreds!
I don't mean to change the subject, but did anyone else catch that the Colorado Eagles have moved to the ECHL? This can only be good for the continuing emergence of Colorado hockey. Is it too crazy to start dreaming of an WHL, NAHL or USHL team here some day??

Anonymous said...

Dg, I got a the same implied list of schools from the article with the exception of bc. Bc was obviously the first school I thought of when they mentioned hockey east, but it just seems so unlikely. There's no way bc would want to travel west for all their conference games. It's possible they're afraid hockey east will become irrelevant with the big10 and this new super conference, but it just seems so unlikely. They still have a lot going on in HE; making such a major move seems a little crazy.
And if we're speculating what HE team it could be, why not bu, maine, Vermont, new Hampshire

Anonymous said...

Well, BC has been in the discussion of this "super conference" since the beginning. I initially heard of BC and BU both being interested. The initial rumors were of an "East-West Super Conference". Also, don't worry about my sources as they are as solid as any beat reporter has.

This article is the first time I have heard WMU's name being thrown in there...Western is the one that I feel as though doesn't fit in this scheme. Even though they had a very good season, WMU is not an elite program. Maybe they are on their way, but one season doesn't reverse their around 35ish years of futility.

dggoddard said...

Certainly it could also be Maine, UNH or Vermont. I just thought that Notre Dame would want to be in the same conference with BC.

Likely Notre Dame wants Western Michigan as Kalamazoo is close to South Bend and Oxford.

Keep in mind that the travel in this league isn't going to be as rigorous as the current WCHA.

Eight teams means 28 conference games, seven away series and seven at home. DU would fly to Boston [BC], Chicago [Notre Dame], Indianapolis [Miami], Minneapolis [North Dakota], Detroit {WMU] and bus to CC & Omaha.

This season DU will fly to Boston {BC, BU], Green Bay [Tech], Minneapolis twice [BSU & SCSU], Anchorage [UAA] & Milwaukee [WIS].

Anonymous said...

I think a super conference with the likes of DU, CC, UND, Notre Dame, Miami, Omaha and BC would be a great counter to the soon-to-be Big 10 conference. It's interesting to read other fan posts who don't see how a BC would want to join a conference with teams out west. It's important to point out they get the best of both worlds. They will regulary play perennial powers like DU, Notre Dame and UND and also can schedule non-conference opponents in their own backyard (former HE foes). And yes, the Beanpot would still go on. Might I point out that BC already does a bit of traveling each year. This season they are going to N. Dakota for the Ice Breaker Tournaent. They also are scheduled to go to the Great Lakes Invite in Detroit. In past years they have play at Denver, Notre Dame, Minnesota and Wisconsin, so they do travel quite a bit. For teams like DU, CC, Notre Dame and UND they can also schedule non-conference foes from the former WCHA/CCHA. Those remaining teams aren't going to turn away those games.

Anonymous said...

BC is a BCS school with national ambitions in terms of athletics.

I could see them wanting a national opponents and a qwestern recruiting recruiting without losing the Beanpot and a few othter select home games where they can choose opponents.

Anonymous said...

what happens to the 2011 NCAA Champions?

Anonymous said...

UMD would have to be in the mix. Brand new arena and attendence is great there. I don't think the WMU is very likely.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but WMU is more likely than UMD being in this supposed super conference.

The whole purpose of forming this "super conference" is to align institutions that share the same philosophies. One of the main denominators between the schools being mentioned is that they are all Division I(FBS/FCS). UMD is a Division II school in all other sports except hockey.

WMU is a DI school and would be a close trip for Notre Dame and Miami to play against in this "super conference."

Anonymous said...

PS I'm aware that CC is DIII in other sports but I think it is obvious to say that DU and CC go hand in hand and one will not leave the other.

Goon said...

D.G. I am thinking Division 1 minus of course C.C. is what is driving this conference thing... You have to figure that C.C. and DU are probably a package deal...
The reason for the move would be for UND to align itself with schools that have similar philosophies about their hockey programs and are willing to invest in them and create new media opportunities.

It is believed that eight teams are involved in the talks to some degree. Nebraska-Omaha, which recently dropped its football program and will put its focus on hockey, is likely one. Omaha athletic director Trev Alberts didn’t return a phone message.

Colorado College athletic director Ken Ralph said his school is examining its current status.

“It’s pretty clear that the formation of the Big 10 is causing folks to look closer at alignment,” Ralph said. “We’re in the same boat. We’re really being thoughtful at how we’re looking at our league. We’ve done a tremendous amount of researching over the last three months. We’re trying to figure out what that research is telling us.”

Pioneers04 said...

I think it's obvious that if a WCHA/CCHA super conference is formed, that the remnants of both conferences would band together to form a new one. There are some natural rivalries t be kep alive I.e. UNM/MTU.

Goon said...

I agree Pioneers 04, I also like the idea of possibly playing DU which has probably become more of our top rival than Minnesota four times a year. I also like the fact that we can ussally see the away games in Denver on FSNRM...

Anonymous said...

DU should go wherever UND and CC go. We need to stick together.

Anonymous said...

Hate to break it to you DU guys but if you ask Brad Schlossman of the GF Herald, he'd tell you he didn't mention DU for a reason. Because that wasn't one of the schools that he confirmed was among the ones in discussion. Look at the article he wrote. Not once was DU mentioned. That's not an accident. Ask him. He'll tell you.

Anonymous said...

LOL, BC? Yeah, right. BC is not going to leave Hockey East to play a bunch of far western schools that it has no history with at all. BC doesn't make money with its hockey program as it is and you clowns think they are gonna want to haul their butts halfway across the country to play competitive hockey when they can do it against quality teams in their own region? BC doesn't need the west to play in a competitive conference. They already have that. Holy clueless! You guys are good for a laugh. lol

Green Hornet said...

This is great for the Big Ten because this way they don't have to schedule the new super conference. Mark my words Wisconsin and Minnesota will only schedule the old WCHA schools as a part of their scheduling agreement. For example, 20 conference games, 8 WCHA games and the rest will be cupcakes. DU will only see Minnesota and Wisconsin in the NCAA tourney or in MPLS or Madison.

Green Hornet said...

Lets look at a potential Big Ten schedule. They will play 20 games in the Big Ten. 8 games will be played against the old "WCHA" , 8 games will be played against cup cakes. For example, a Christmas holiday tourney and a pre season tourney which will count. Finally maybe of the 8 cup cakes 2 of them will be a new super conference opponent. Look at all the Big Ten fb and bb schedule and you will see them play cupcakes at home. Why play any games against the new super conference? What is in it for the Big Ten? Unless the super conference wants to go on the road to the Big Ten they likely will not schedule each other.

JTtheConqueror said...

I just want DU to play nordak and CC 4 times a year or more. I could care less about all other games but if we get a guarantee of NorDak and CC weekend a year I will be happy. could care less about other teams. Would like to see Minny, wisco, and others but the big weekends are always cc and und. i will take a new conference if we can guarantee those series. if that will not happen stay in the wcha tech's trophy is neat...

Anonymous said...

I could care less about playing SCSU, mankato, Duluth, and Bemidji. I just hope we will somehow play NorDak and CC 4 times or more a year.

cis said...

I'm WMU and DU alum. To shed some light on comments regarding Western, it should be noted last season was indeed great and a huge sudden improvement, but Western has a history of national respect. Not national title-respect, but they are not an RIT-type. Western has funding, a very large and suddenly-energized alumni base, plays D1 in all major sports, and is close geographically to many big college hockey programs in limbo now (Miami, Notre Dame, Duluth, North Dakota).

WMU just locked up the 2011 national coach of the year (Jeff Blashill) because the school realizes they are the up-and-comer with the most to lose “thanks” to the BTHC, and they need to be taken seriously nationally with realignment looming or the opportunity for elite success will be lost.

Programs like Ferris State and Northern Michigan are screwed. Non-CCHA schools without national prominence will get lost in the shuffle. But anyone who thinks programs like DU and CC will be left out in the cold is naive……

I see 2 new conferences, with fewer total teams. Last one in to the big one will be WMU. The other non-CCHA Michigan schools (and Bowling Green) will have to form a new conference with the likes of Michigan Tech, Alaska Fairbanks and Bemidji State. Each year one team will make the NCAA tourney thanks to the auto bid, much like the AHA plays for now.

Oh, and the Big 10 will HAVE to schedule tough non-conference games. With only 6 schools, 2 of which (OSU and PSU) are not established programs, not only will there be lots of empty space to fill in schedules, but at-large bids for the national tourney will be tough to come by without beating multiple ranked non-conference teams during the season.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:01 PM: Are you a troll? How about you ask Schlossman yourself and get him to publicly post that Denver isn't in the talks? I bet he wouldn't, you wanna know why? Cause you are full of shit and are trying to troll.

I don't know what fanbase you root for but I am a Sioux fan and it is very clear that if there was to be any move towards a new conference, Denver and North Dakota would be in it. No way in hell would these two teams split from being in the same conference.

Anonymous said...

Denver should go to the CCHA then

Anonymous said...

I think Notre Dame is still in the driver's seat here. They have said they want to be with "like" schools and what they decide will likely force the issue.

Notre Dame has to consider which is the group of more more "like" schools. Is it the Eastern catholic HEA schools like BC, Providence and Merrimack? or whether it considers the D-I schools in the midwest such as Miami, Denver, North Dakota, etc.?

Fun times ahead.

Anonymous said...

If people are saying du and cc would never split up, then we can't realistically expect bu and bc to split up.

Anonymous said...

No way DU is sitting on the sidelines of these discussions.

Way too much on the line.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I really like the sounds of the WCHA being dismantled in this way. I hope that this is nothing more than off-season "chatter" and nothing else comes of it.

Mike B said...

Karma is a son of a...If you try to pull the plug too early, a speaker in your rink will mysteriously catch fire and cause $1mm worth of damage. Next time, give DU a call before trying to jump the ship.