Notre Dame Heads East, NCHC To Remain At 8

From: Duluth Tribune

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference said Sunday it is set on eight teams for its inaugural season in 2013-14, and all indications are that Notre Dame, invited to join the NCHC, will instead seek admission to Hockey East.

Members of the NCHC are Minnesota Duluth, Colorado College, Denver, Miami of Ohio, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota and St. Cloud State. Notre Dame, a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, had been considering the NCHC invitation, but the league apparently was done waiting for an answer.

“We are very confident with our decision and excited to move forward as a strong eight-team conference,” Brian Faison, North Dakota’s athletic director, said in a statement as a league spokesman. “It is our goal to establish the National Collegiate Hockey Conference as the premier conference in men’s hockey and there’s no question in our minds that we are well positioned to do so with our membership.”

The South Bend (Ind.) Tribune was reporting Sunday night that Notre Dame is expected to make an announcement Wednesday about joining Hockey East. The top-ranked Fighting Irish open the season Friday at UMD.

Teams in Hockey East are Boston College, Boston University, Providence, Massachusetts, Massachusetts-Lowell, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Northeastern and Merrimack. RPI has been rumored to be a possible 12th team if Notre Dame joins.


Anonymous said...

Disappointing news for the NCHC, but not crushing.

The NCHC is still a much better league without the WCHA bottom-feeders that were jettisoned.

Miami and Western Michigan are NCAA tourney level programs with a lot more investment behind them than UAA, MSUM, and MTU. SCSU is not optimum, but still brings a little more to the NCHC table than Bemidji State does (larger market, easier travel, etc.)

dggoddard said...

Losing Notre Dame hurts because they would be have been a powerful draw in Denver. So from that perspective its very disappointing.

I like the addition of St. Cloud and think they will be an asset to the league.

If Western can get a new rink in Kalamazoo they too will become an asset.

The NCHC is still far and away the best league in college hockey top to bottom as far as Pairwise, Recruiting Rankings and coaching resumes are concerned. Now the member schools, particularly DU, needs to get out there and market the heck out of this league.

Anonymous said...

It may hurt from a name-recognition standpoint, but if the rumors floating about Notre Dame asking for special consideration to join, such as additional revenue, extra non-conference games, extra home games... who knows... are true, then I admire the NCHC leadership for standing up and saying we're not going to go that route.

Considering the other rumors floating about regarding special favors asked by Notre Dame and Texas in the multi-sports conferences, it would not surprise me at all if they were. And why would you break away from those that were not willing to invest in the sport just to join a conference where you're playing on an uneven playing field already?

So while the draw/name recognition factor may hurt, I think the leadership served the conference and the fans well by deciding to move forward.

dggoddard said...

Really good points and I'm in total agreement.

If Notre Dame asked for any of those things, they can go pound sand.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, this is no huge loss.

Notre Dame has been an overall crappy hockey program, with the Jeff Jackson era being obviously better. The problem is that Jackson has a reputation much like Herb Brooks had, ie no loyalty and is likely to move on sooner than later. When he does move on, ND is likely to slide back to being a below average - average program.

St Cloud is a solid program and WMU has made amazing strides in terms of achievement and institutional support. WMU also was able to replace Blashill almost immediately with a possibly even better coach in Murray, they should be fine for years.

All 8 of the NCHC programs have the dedication to their hockey programs that almost exclusively makes them the priority inside their respective athletic departments. This, being with like-minded athletic departments, is what the NCHC is all about and NOT for just TV exposure.

Ring_of_Fire said...

So, essentially what happened here is the former WCHA "elites" traded the unappealing travel and traditionally lower-tier competition of UAA, Mankato, and Tech for Miami of Ohio and Western Michigan.

I'd say that's a good trade...if Minnesota and Wisconsin were still in the league.

They're not, of course. Thanks, Penn State.

And now, Notre Dame is taking their beautiful new facility and two births in the last four Frozen Fours to Hockey East.

Spin this however you want, but not being able to come to an agreement with Notre Dame is far worse than disappointing for the NCHC. It is completely missing out on the generation of national exposure that transcends the "niche" label that is always affixed to college hockey.

NONE of the schools in the NCHC are "important" enough to generate such interest at a national level on their own. Notre Dame is. And the all the NCHC had to do to bring them into the fold is let them run their own TV deal?


The NCHC blew it here...and blew it badly.

So Notre Dame wanted to run their own TV broadcasts. Big freaking deal. TV revenues, as pointed out yesterday, are infinitesimally small potatoes when compared to the other issues in play here.

The whole point of forming the NCHC was to ensure the continued elite status of the teams involved. Not to generate TV revenues. TV revenues were just, to borrow a phrase from yesterday, "icing on the cake".

Now, beginning in 2013, the NCHC teams will be fighting for relevancy against the recruiting/competition/exposure/scheduling juggernaut that is the Big Ten. There is no amount of spin, no useless platitudes about being "happy with 8", absolutely NOTHING anyone can say that can change the fact that having Notre Dame in the conference would have helped and helped immensely.

One again: The NCHC blew it here...and blew it badly.

Anonymous said...

The only disappointing thing, is the potential TV deal they would have brought with them. Other than that, there are some very strong teams in the NCHC - and ND is hardly a hockey powerhouse. As long as the NCHC teams keep recruiting like they are and show up in the tournament each year, I honestly think, NCHC will become the powerhouse league of D1.

Ring_of_Fire said...

To those who keep pointing out Notre Dame's lack of a long term tradition of success in D1 hockey...

Don't forget: Western Michigan (and, to a lesser extent, Miami) were also overall "crappy" programs at one time. And, I would say, both are far more likely than Notre Dame to slide back into mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

I'll echo Ring of Fire. Not much hockey tradition for Notre Dame, but they have had great recent success, a proven championship level coach, new facilities, and the backing of a powerhouse of a school. They aren't going anywhere but up.

Losing out on Notre Dame, IMHO, is a big loss no matter how you slice it. The NCHC will be fine without them, and I could still see it being the premier conference in college hockey in 10 years. However, it would have been "guaranteed" if Notre Dame joined.

Anonymous said...

to r_o_f

Your woody for ND is obviously apparent, try not to get too hurt by everyone else's lack of enthusiasm for ND.

I like that the conference is at 8 teams. It provides for a balanced, 28 game conference schedule where everyone gets 4 games apiece against everyone else.

How would the NCHC having ND magically transform Men's D1 Ice Hockey into a non-niche sport when ND has been around for quite some time in the WCHA and CCHA? ND hasn't done it then and they won't magically do it now. I mean, hell, the CCHA has had Michigan, Michigan St, Ohio St and Notre Dame all together in the same conference for over 30 years and were never able to take the throne from the WCHA as the premier conference. The CCHA has been for years the #3 conference behind the WCHA and Hockey East, only Michigan (and to a lesser extent Michigan St) kept it from being a complete afterthought. ND is basically the equivalent of Lake St -- absolutely no success until Jeff Jackson and Lake St immediately regained their bottom feeder status after JJ's departure...I expect the same from ND to be honest.

Ring_of_Fire said...

@ Anon 11:36

I'll avoid responding to your snide and somewhat personal attacks, but your expectations with regards to Notre Dame's future are, frankly, misplaced.

First off, I do have to admit that you're right when you say that Notre Dame didn't do much during its previous stint in the WCHA...or its recent stint in the CCHA. But, that's because Notre Dame hadn't managed to get serious about hockey. Now that it is, I think you'll see a far different identity come out of South Bend.

With all due respect to Lake State, Notre Dame is NOT Lake State. Notre Dame has resources, support, and interest that the guys in the Soo couldn't comprehend even in their wildest flights of fiscal fantasy.

I mean, look at Notre Dame right now. Amazing new building, unbelievable recruiting, interest at an all time high, a tremendous level of institutional support, no worries about getting state funding to keep the doors open. If Jeff Jackson were to leave tomorrow, do you honestly think Notre Dame would have a problem attracting another top-flight coach to the program?

Come on.

It's time to get used to the fact that Notre Dame is a big-time player in college hockey and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Any assertion to the contrary is just lunacy.

Now, instead of being welcomed into the NCHC, Notre Dame will take their fan base, their multi-million dollar facility, and their position as the "up-and-comer most likely to succeed long term" to Hockey East...and further bolster the ranks of the league you, yourself have anointed as "second fiddle" behind the WCHA.

So, I ask you:

Is the NCHC, which is essentially the WCHA without its two highest profile members (plus WMU and Miami) outstripped by Hockey East plus Notre Dame?

Right now? I think the answer is "no"...but, I could honestly see the not-too-distant future as one where Hockey East is a better league than the NCHC.


It's because Hockey East didn't lose programs like Minnesota and Wisconsin...and then replace them with programs that, with all due respect to Western Michigan and Miami, don't come CLOSE to replacing the prestige, recognition, or recruiting muscle lost.

The addition of Notre Dame to the NCHC would have gone a LONG way towards mitigating this situation. least I'll no longer have to watch the weird internet feed from Anchorage when DU trudges up there....

dggoddard said...

Losing MN, WI, UAA, MTU, MSU-M & BSU
and replacing them with WMU & Miami is probably a wash.

Having fewer games against WCHA bottom feeders is a huge upgrade from the fans perspective.

Bringing UND & Miami into Magness every season is a huge upgrade.

If DU can bring into Magness one B1G team and a HE Elite [UNH, BC, BU, UNH or Miane] each season it will replace the one visit a season we lost with Minnesota or Wisconsin.

All in all the NCHC is still a great move IMO.

Anonymous said...

I am sure the NCHC was planned with Notre Dame in the fold, but upheavals in the TV and larger BCS conference realignment over the last 3 months or so changed the face of the deal and gave ND cold feet.

The Options for DU are/were:

The NCHC with Notre Dame: A+

The NCHC without Notre Dame: B or B-

Staying in a depleted WCHA: D+

old pio said...

I've given this matter considerable thought, trying to balance the various scenarios. And I came to this conclusion: Phuck Notre Dame, phuck Rudy, phuck touchdown Jesus, phuck the Gipper and the rest of their bull sh*t traditions. While it might have been nice to have them in the new conference, not at the cost of blowing them. Phuck 'em.

Anonymous said...

DG: Not sure if the ballots are open yet, but I'm nominating Old Pio's post for "Post of the Year".

dggoddard said...

The Ballot Box is now open. I agree Old Pio's post is an Instant Classic.

Anonymous said...

Tool central....phuck Old Pio.

Ring_of_Fire said...

And Old Pio's post is also patently ridiculous and profoundly stupid.

If such dribble (yes, "dribble"'s also "drivel", but I'm assuming that such a festering pile of utter putrescence had to dribble out of Old Pio's...something...) is "Post of the Year" material, then the standards for said award are low, indeed.

Anonymous said...

I'm the one who nominated Old Pio's post. I read it and thought it was hilarious. Phuck Rudy... Profoundly genius. Instant classic. I mean, how could you hate Rudy? You'd have to be a real bastard. I guess that's why I loved the post...I didn't take it too seriously.

For the record, I also posted above about how I wanted Notre Dame in the conference and losing them was a big loss no matter how you slice it. No sour grapes from me regarding Notre Dame. Just like DU, they did what they had to do.