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.