Friday, August 26, 2011

WCHA to Absorb CCHA Teams

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association extended invitations to the remaining Central Collegiate Hockey Association schools this week, and three have already accepted - Alaska (Fairbanks), Ferris State, and Lake Superior State.

The Nanooks, Bulldogs and Lakers will all join the "new" WCHA in 2013-14 and play against Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State, and St. Cloud State. Northern Michigan previously rejoined the WCHA earlier this summer after spending the last 15 seasons in the CCHA. Colorado College, Denver, North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth and former CCHA member Nebraska-Omaha are all leaving the WCHA to help make up the nascent National College Hockey Conference.

Bowling Green is undecided so far about joining the WCHA, while Notre Dame and Western Michigan still seem to be weighing joining the NCHC, which also boasts current CCHA member Miami. That league will begin play two years from now, at the same time that CCHA schools Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State begin formal play in the Big Ten along with WCHA schools Minnesota and Wisconsin, and varsity newcomer Penn State.

It's still not known where current independent Alabama-Huntsville will wind up; but all these moves will definitely spell the end of the CCHA, which got its start back in 1971 with Bowling Green, Ohio, Ohio State and St. Louis. The league has crowned eight national champions since 1984, but will pass into memory after two more seasons.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Alabama-Huntsville Still Seeking New League of its Own

With all the recent upheaval in the NCAA Division I college hockey ranks, Alabama-Huntsville is still seeking a new conference to call home after College Hockey America dissolved last year and the Chargers were subsequently spurned by the CCHA.

With Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State off to the Big Ten in 2013, and Miami (and possibly Notre Dame and Western Michigan) headed to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, might UAH be a good fit for what remains of the CCHA? That remains to be seen, or if the Chargers would be admitted to a reconstituted WCHA that absorbs the remaining CCHA survivors. Not sure if Atlantic Hockey would be a fit for UAH with its 12 scholarship limit, but the Chargers do need to find a new league within the next few years to remain viable.

Twenty years ago it wasn't a problem being an independent, with UAH playing the likes of the two Alaska schools, Air Force, Army and Notre Dame on a regular basis, sort of like a de facto league with its own NCAA Tournament berth. Going it solo on the independent route today, with everyone else carrying some sort of conference affiliation, is tough, especially after New Year's when conference schools are all tied up playing each other.

You can read more about the UAH program and some possibilities for it here: