Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Hockey League is Taking Shape


Another major shakeup is on the horizon for NCAA men's college hockey.
Four months after it was announced that the Big Ten Conference would sponsor the sport starting in 2013-14, an affiliation that includes the University of Wisconsin, multiple reports Thursday say another league will debut in that same time frame.
In a story first reported by the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, five Western Collegiate Hockey Association schools will join forces with Miami (Ohio) out of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association to form a new partnership.
Citing unnamed sources, the Herald said Colorado College, Denver, defending NCAA champion Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota are leaving the WCHA, which has existed since 1951 and produced 37 national champions.
It's possible that Notre Dame and Western Michigan also could join the new league, which is expected to be officially unveiled next week in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The development comes in the heels of the Big Ten's announcement in March that UW and Minnesota from the WCHA and Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State from the CCHA would hook up with Penn State to form a new league.
Thanks to an $88 million gift from billionaire alum Terry Pegula, Penn State is introducing men's and women's hockey in 2012-13, giving the Big Ten the six members on the men's side needed for NCAA sanctioning.
Such a mass exodus - seven teams leaving the WCHA, six leaving the CCHA - would leave the two established conferences with five members apiece, which isn't enough to maintain NCAA sanctioning. It's expected that they would join forces in some fashion.  
It will be interesting to see how things shake out.  GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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