College Hockey:
As Big Ten prepares to announce plan, CCHA, WCHA commissioners look forward

It might not rise to the level of certainty of death and taxes, but the likely addition of hockey to the Big Ten Conference lineup has college hockey commissioners doing some advance planning.

WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said he has heard from Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and representatives from Wisconsin and Penn State that the Big Ten will push forward with a plan to sponsor hockey beginning with the 2013-14 season.

The addition of another sport under the Big Ten umbrella has to be approved by the presidents of the member schools.

An announcement of the conference’s intention to go down that path could come as early as Monday, sources said.

“It’s never done until it’s done, but every indication from all of those sources is that this is what their intent is,” McLeod said. “So I take them at their word. I guess who knows what could derail it, but that’s the premise that we’ve been working on, that they’re going to start in ’13-14 and have a standalone conference and a standalone tournament.”

Jennifer Heppel, the Big Ten’s associate commissioner for governance who has been tabbed as the conference’s point person for hockey, declined to comment when approached recently.

Big Ten member Penn State is adding a Division I varsity program in the 2012-13 season and is expecting to move into a new arena in September 2013.

With fellow Big Ten members Minnesota and Wisconsin from the WCHA and Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State from the CCHA, that would make six teams in a Big Ten hockey league.

Removing those teams from the existing Western conferences would be a significant change to the college hockey landscape. The CCHA would be left with eight teams (it was at 12 last season before Nebraska-Omaha left for the WCHA), while the WCHA would be back at 10.

More importantly, the leagues would lose some high-profile, full-Division I schools.

The CCHA and WCHA are, at least publicly, taking different approaches in assessing their potential post-Big Ten-debut futures.

“A lot of that is so speculative because as you go down the road, there are decisions that go beyond your own control,” CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos said. “So there’s certainly a level of reaction that would ultimately take place.

“What we’re trying to do in terms of any proactivity is to be communicative, stay out front, talk to people. We all care deeply about the sport and we want to try to figure out, if there’s change, how do we have it impact the landscape in the best manner possible?”

When Penn State formally announced its plans for a varsity program in September, Delany said via a news release that the expectation was that “a conference championship would not take place before the 2014-15 academic year” and occur with a mind to “balance all of the unique interests in play.”

The timeline, however, appears to have advanced by a year. Big Ten athletic directors met last week in Indianapolis, and hockey was one subject scheduled to be on the table.

In the WCHA’s case, to avoid incurring a financial penalty, Minnesota and Wisconsin would have to inform the league that it intends to leave for the 2013-14 season by the time of the league meetings in late April 2012, McLeod said.

The WCHA is working on a three-pronged approach to the situation, McLeod said:

• It has been having conversations with Minnesota and Wisconsin regarding an ongoing scheduling relationship between the schools and the rest of the WCHA.

• It is working with a consultant to determine ways to make up for the loss of Minnesota in the Twin Cities market. The WCHA has a tentative agreement to keep its postseason tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., and will be gathering data at the Final Five this weekend.

• It is working with consultants from Los Angeles and Denver to look at its league-wide television structure and what possibilities exist.

Anastos said the CCHA has created a number of models for the future appearance of the league, based on what would happen in what he called a “landscape reset.”

A CCHA membership committee has been talking regularly about the various scenarios, he said, with the communication escalating ahead of league meetings at the end of April.

The league had been talking about ways to make possible more games between Big Ten teams — and therefore more content for the Big Ten Network — but the situation changed when Penn State came into the mix.

And that change might not be the end of it. The introduction of a full-fledged Big Ten into college hockey could be the end of the shuffle of teams, or it might be just the first domino to fall in a large-scale reorganization.

For now, the leagues are dealing with assumptions and speculation.

“I know lots of people feel they’re in a wait mode, but that’s kind of the unusual nature of the dynamic we’re dealing with,” Anastos said. “If there is not an interest by the Big Ten for some reason to move forward in doing something, our membership and, I think, the WCHA membership is perfectly content.”

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  • Scchrist

    Hopefully UAB’s phone is ringing now.

    • JeremyWDewar

      Do you mean UAH??

      • Scchrist

        Yes. I was listening on the radio about UAB in the NCAA bb tournemant and got mixed up

    • Css228

      you mean UAH?

  • WCHA Fan

    I think a big ten conference would be a horrible idea

    • B.D.

      It is essentially creating teams where none exist for marketing purposes.

    • Mnhky2000

      It IS a horrible idea and although it may take a few years, ultimately it is going to fail.

  • Lincster33

    And all so that the Big Ten Network can have more programming. What have we come to?

    • Al

      You’re just figuring this out now?

  • Big Ten Bad Idea

    Money hungry Big Ten just wants to add hockey games to the Big Ten TV network.

    • Scchrist

      the whole NCAA is money hungry. The Big 10 wants their “taste”

    • RITjoe

      The Big Ten Network already shows hockey games.

      • gopherfan88

        And no one cares about the games on the Big Ten Network. People in Minnesota watch gopher games on FSN North.

        • FightingWho?

          I remember one game when Minnesota was on the Big Ten network where they didnt air the first period because some coach for a minor sport at the University of Indiana had just gotten fired. they aired a live press conference with the coach instead. who was watching this? all the Indiana fans who were looking for a gopher vs. badger game?

          also, the announcers on Big Ten sound like it is the first time they have seen the sport. they are just dont care about hockey at all.

  • WCHA

    This will kill the CCHA while making the WCHA and Hockey East into the two power conferences while the big 10 pretends they are the best. Not good for college hockey.

    • Al

      Not much good has happened in college hockey in recent years. Unless you’re a fan of RPI and Bemidji State.

      • UNOfan


    • Nyqi

      I don’t agree, the Big 10 conference with Minn (UM), UW and Mich would be a recruiting dream for those schools as they will guarantee being on TV a lot for those players. This isn’t going to be great for the WCHA. If you take UM and UW out of the conference in most years it will hurt the SOS for the rest of the schools and makes the WCHA just another conference to some degree.

      Could be interesting to see if the WCHA does something cool like creating a super conference with Hockey East and break it up into an east and west division and get BC and BU and some of the better teams from HE. That way you will have large market teams from east to west and could get some TV coverage. Basically that is what this is all about – TV. TV means ad money and that is what the Big 10 is looking for.

      • David123

        the big 10 schools will be fine in terms of money, tv, etc. no matter what. but this move could kill programs at alaska, bowling green, northern mich, ferris state, lake superior state, western michigan. mich and mich state helped them. and especially if miami and notre dame head to the wcha like they are expected. that isn’t good for college hockey in general.

        • Smart person

          Like expected? Miami is not and will not go to the WCHA. Having inside sources, as I was the first to break this story on uscho back in July a few weeks before penn st. announced it, Miami does not want that travel schedule. Having 8 flight weekends isn’t in their budget. Best situation for all the teams was for their to be a 24 team Super conf. with 4 6 team divisions with the Big ten schools being in their own division. Break the teams down geographically to help make it viable and it works. Group Miami, Notre Dame, Denver, and CC in one cluster with possibly Western and Bowling Green and it helps all involved. The CCHA is the only conference that will be in trouble and upstart programs like Miami and Notre Dame could be in trouble. The WCHA is in hockey country and will be absolutely fine, but the rumor behind the scenes is that Ferris St. and Lake St. are already exploring the option of droping their respective programs.

        • BDM

          I don’t agree. The Big Ten teams will still need to play a full schedule. They can’t play each other 6 times a year. And if money is the driving force, then having non-conference games in (relatively) nearby locations (Michigan vs. Western, vs. Bowling Green, vs. Ferris) will continue with almost the same frequency as before.

      • stateofhockey

        Are you serious? I can’t speak for any other school, but nearly every Gopher hockey game is televised.
        You’re right that this is about nothing but money for the Big 10. They don’t care one bit about the long traditions and rivalries that exist in college hockey. But since MN, WI, and MI already make plenty of money from men’s hockey, the athletic directors at those schools should vote against this. So should the ADs at every other Big 10 school. The half-wittted Maturi from MN will no doubt vote for this, seeing it as some sort of major accomplishment.
        The only benefit this has is to PSU and the Big 10 itself. The rest of us lose.

        • Roguelock4

          Yes MN and WI now make money from Hockey but I think they make more from equal revenue sharing by being in the Big Ten with schools like OSU. I dont think voting no is a option they have unless they want the big revenue schools from other sports in the Big Ten to only look out for themselves.

      • Roadkill

        How was the Final Five this year without Powerhouse teams like Wisconsin and Minnesota there?

    • Bellefys

      I don’t think it will be a pretend league. Teams have their ups and downs but history will show the truth, the new Big Ten League would be elite. Do your homework before commenting.

      • B.D.

        I disagree.
        The former WCHA teams (Wisconsin and Minnesota) will dominate an otherwise lackluster field.
        Ohio and Penn will start at the bottom and need half a generation to be productive.
        What will be interesting is that Minnesotas principal rivalry will now be out of league.

        • Crovin

          I’d have to agree with Bellefys. The Big 10 would become an elite league. I strongly doubt they’ll stick to the minimum 6 teams. They’ll most likely look for 2 more power house teams with large followings to join the league. It will make for a recruiters dream and great hockey in that conference, but it will hurt the other conferences significantly.

          • Ring_of_Fire

            I’m curious. Where will they find said “powerhouse teams”?

            Do you seriously expect existing Big Ten members that do not already have a hockey team to commit the resources necessary to build not only a winning Division I hockey program…but also, due to Title IX requirements, add an additional Women’s varsity sport ?

            The money involved in starting a hockey program is staggering. Penn State needed a donor to commit $88 Million to get it off the ground. That’s 88 with SIX zeros after it. Do you honestly believe that’s going to happen in places like Iowa, Indiana, or Illinois?

            Additionally, the existing hockey programs who are NOT at Big Ten member institutions will have no interest in jumping to the Big Ten. The slight that the BTHC is about to commit on the rest of college hockey will be long remembered and, despite any arrogant predictions to the contrary, non-Big Ten schools will NOT be jumping to join a BTHC.

            So, again, I ask you…where will they find said “powerhouse teams”?

          • B.D.

            In order for it to become an elite league, the culture within it would have to value hockey.

            I see no evidence that that is the case other than from the teams already in existance. Northwestern? Do they even have a club team? Penn State, Nebraska-Lincoln? I lived in Lincoln as a young officer and they couldn’t spell hockey.

            Its like Baseball at UND. It is not prized so it hardly qualifies as elite.

          • Sprig1

            Only if they are Big Ten teams.

        • pete buss

          What are you talking about? Lackluster field? The CCHA is as good if not better than the WCHA. Both are solid conferences. You must be from Minnesota. There is hockey outside of your state if you didnt know. Its too bad Minnesota has such an isolated approach towards hockey. Many of your top players come from Canada anyway i.e. the makeup of Shattuck St. Mary. Minn H.S. is great in that the kids can play each other and not have to pay to play in Canada like most other aaa leagues, but Minnesota is not the end all in hockey. The CCHA and WCHA will continue to thrive and even add some strong programs. What about Denver? Didnt they advance to the championship against N.D. not Wis or Minn and yet the remaining teams will be lackluster.

          • B.D.

            Actually, from North Dakota.
            I see no evidence that the CCHA can compare to the WCHA.
            Do you have a gripe against Canadians? Since my homein North Dakota is less than an hour from Manitoba and the nearest major city is Winnipeg it is understandable that our team has an unusual number of players from there.

            What is unusual is that we also have a player from So Cal and not a few from NOrth Dakota itself regardless of its diminutive population.

            THere is an old biblical saying that one young man sharpens himself against equally tough opposition in the form of another young man. THat will be missing in the Big Ten.

            So, yes the Big Ten league will be lackluster.

          • WMUBronco86

            How can you say a league that who’s teams will have more national titles than any other league is “Lackluster” It will have 23, and even if the WCHA wins every title between here and there it will only have 22 among its remaining members. (ie, removing the titles won by Minnesota and Wisconsin) And Michigan has 9 titles, two more than any other school. So yes, the Big 10 will be elite. It may be top heavy between Michigan Minnesota and Wisconsin, but it will be elite.

      • Dlaff12

        The Big Ten would probably have a couple “elite” teams, Michigan in particular. However, the best two teams historically in the WCHA would still be in the WCHA.

    • Michigander

      As a Michigander I am disappointed. I thought it was neat that Michigan schools were the core of CCHA (no offense to Tech). In the end the big 10 is more important than our state or bieng part of the state. Has any school spit on it’s home state than U of M. They rape the taxpayers constantly and then pays us back like this. Walmart ( I mean MS ) is no better.

    • CCHAsucks

      eh, the CCHA is already dead, lol

  • Peter

    Why is this evil of them? The Big Ten predates everything and has the right to organize a hockey league if they want to. It’s not the Big Ten’s fault that you little sister’s of the poor will fail.

    • Jdorf40

      Yeah, they’re so interested in hockey that they’re getting involved in 2013. The Big 10 is a joke. That’s one of the reasons I like college hockey. It’s not governed by the massive $ hungry pigs. Why they would want to bring hockey into the mix is pretty weird. It’s gonna be just like the Big 10 in everything else. Talk the big game and get humiliated by the little man. But as long as they’re putting money in the pockets of the suits…they don’t really care.

      • Css228

        Couldn’t have been before. They need 6 teams to form a conference. That said I really think they should have followed the Ivy approach just over two conferences. An non-autobid championship for bragging rights only.

        • Mich95Alum

          But if each individual member school can make more money (or lose less) as part of a B10 Hockey conf, why stick in their less profitable conferences?

          Would the Ivy League schools be more profitable if they banded together financially?

          • B.D.

            Their is no proof that the Big ten would be any ore profitable than the WCHA. In fact much points to it being less so.

            The Gophers sell out their games against North Dakota and often Denver. Penn State and Ohio? Who would want to see that?

          • Mich95Alum

            Penn State and Ohio State are (IIRC) among the top ten campuses in total enrollment. Even if only 1% of the student body showed up, that would be a sellout.

          • Bob

            Ohio State has been waiting for that day for years. Have you ever been to a game at the Schott Cave (a.k.a., Value City Arena)?

          • B.D.

            Yeah? Have they sold out a game yet? 1000+? 5,000? 10,000?
            By this logic the huge schools of the south (Texas, Florida, LSU, etc) would also sell out

      • http://centraliowalacrosse.sports.officelive.com/default.aspx Adam Edg

        Welcome to NCAA sports…

    • Ring_of_Fire

      No-one is disputing whether or not the Big Ten has a “right” to establish a hockey conference…the question is whether or not it is a good idea for them to do so.

      I have heard compelling arguments both ways, but for the Big Ten to pretend that it is operating in a vacuum and that its decision to establish a new hockey conference will not affect the rest of college hockey is the height of willful ignorance…AND arrogance.

      No matter what Bruce McLeod and Tom Anastos say, this is the beginning of seismic shift in the college hockey landscape and the four schools that will drive what happens next are North Dakota, Denver, Miami, and Notre Dame.

      The next couple of months will be VERY interesting…

      • http://centraliowalacrosse.sports.officelive.com/default.aspx Adam Edg

        Agreed. But I would add UNO to that list as well. The Mavericks are an up-and-coming program and Omaha is the third largest TV market in the WCHA right now. With Minnesota out, it will technically be #2 behind Denver.
        I’ve heard rumors of a PAC 12 team adding hockey as well. If true, then this team could easily fit into the WCHA and add another strong TV market. Move Air Force and whichever Alaska school is in CCHA and the conference looks alright.
        The CCHA on the other hand is very limited in its options. Notre Dame and Miami will be the new super powers. Maybe they can snag some of the western teams in the Atlantic. Robert Morris & Mercyhurst would fit just fine.

        • Ring_of_Fire

          Could be…but UNO just doesn’t have the history of a Denver or a North Dakota, or the national clout of a Notre Dame.

          That said, in reality, I’m happy to include them on this list, because UNO is a lot like Miami: An up-and-comer with a good coach and a rabid fan base. UNO and Miami are teams that smaller schools without the history of a Denver or the national following of a Notre Dame would be happy to emulate.

          • B.D.

            Yeah, but note that i think the fan base is mostly transplants from further north who value the sport. They have swapped allegiances but not their values.

            That being said I am happy they are doing so well.

        • Mich95Alum

          quote: “and whichever Alaska school is in CCHA”

          Which is exactly why I don’t care to watch those types of games. Noone knows or cares if my school has bragging right in a season over “whichever Alaska school is in the CCHA”.

          • http://centraliowalacrosse.sports.officelive.com/default.aspx Adam Edg

            Yeah, I honestly cannot keep them straight. I’ve never understood the logic of separating them like that either. To me, having both in the WCHA means two teams can travel out to Alaska on a given weekend; team A plays Anchorage and Team B plays Fairbanks on Friday. Then they swap opponents on Saturday. I would think that it would ease scheduling and travel costs. Nearly every WCHA team could have a regular travel partner too.

          • B.D.

            Why bother with the swap?

          • denveh

            When they came into D1 they were intentionally placed in different leagues because no one wants to travel up to AK twice a year… It actually makes sense to have a bunch of teams in WCHA and CCHA to each go up there once then for all of the WCHA to have to travel up twice!

      • Mich95Alum

        I don’t think anyone is saying it won’t impact the rest of college hockey. Maybe the B10 schools won’t _care_ how it afffects the rest of hockey, but of course it will affect everyone else. Each school should do what is best for them. I personally don’t care to see games against mid-major schools, even if they are good in hockey. I want to see “brand name” matchups.

        Personally, I hope college hockey will overall move towards conference alignments more akin to other sports anyhow. Of course it won’t be perfect, but this is a step towards that direction.

        • Ring_of_Fire

          So, let me get this straight….you don’t care to see your team match-up with a Denver or a North Dakota because they are “mid-major”?

          Your arrogance is astounding and, frankly, unbecoming.

          Seriously, get off your sanctimonious high horse. Those teams have every bit the “major” history with college hockey that your beloved Blue Douchebags do. Yes, they’ve each won two fewer National Championships….but they’ve both done it more recently…way more recently in Denver’s case.

          Your post is just like many BTHC supporters: “Yay me! Screw everyone else!”

          • Mich95Alum

            Outside of the world of college hockey, I’ve never run into a Denver or North Dakota alum. They simply don’t have a national presence.

            I have seen Ohio State jerseys in Washington State. I’ve seen Notre Dame “subway alum” well, everywhere. Nittany Lions in Florida. I’ve seen Wisconsin and Minnesota folks sporting their colors far outside their geographic area. (Minnesota especially has a surprisingly large enrollment)

            Size matters. Alumni base matters. If college hockey is to move beyond a niche sport, generating revenue matters. It’s not pretty to say, but it is true. Put people in the seats, and the sport will remain alive and healthy.

            Getting Penn State (one of the top 10 campuses based on enrollment) is a huge deal. I have no doubt that they will be able to contribute to college hockey in the long run than, say, a smaller school like Bowling Green or Ferris State could.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Dash.driver Brandon G Boetcher

            I guess you’ve never been on an airplane?

          • B.D.

            Seems so.
            Probably one of THOSE guys.

          • B.D.

            Dude, where you been? You have selective appreciation based on personal experience.

            Half of the officer pilots in the US army are now aviators trained to fly rotorcraft at UND. Same-same corporate pilots, and now companies such as fedex, ASA, etc.

            At the gym I work out at I see far more UND work out shirts here in AZ than I see Nittany Lions, Northwestern, etc.
            And the school is growing at a faster than national average pace.

            Your point that a bigger school can do more for college hockey than a smaller school misses some obvious points – the culture at those larger schools do not VALUE college hockey and changing vallues is a tough job that rarely works out.

          • denveh

            absolutely agree. at most big ten schools hockey is playing third fiddle to football and basketball. At UND, DU, etc. it is ALL hockey! School size is irrelevant to the success of a program and the passion of its fans

    • Nyqi

      Never said it was evil of them as a matter of fact this could be the best thing to happen to some of the schools in the WCHA but I just hope that schools like North Dakota will do the right thing and tell MN and WI to take a flying leap when it comes to scheduling. NoDak won’t need MN and WI as much as they will need them so I hope that we don’t ever play them again. Just because the Big 10 wants to do this for more programing which means more money doesn’t mean that MN and WI have to go along. So if they do, good riddance. I’d rather have us schedule Notre Dame, BC, BU, Maine, etc and we’ll be able to. So long guys good luck in your powerhouse 6 school conference.

      • nebraskahockeyfan

        well said. That pretty much sums it up.

        • B.D.

          Well, and the way things are going Minnesota Duluth will supplant the Gophers as the key Hoackey school in Minnesota anyway….

    • What R U thinking?

      The WCHA will be just fine with out the two Rodent schools.

      • Mich95Alum

        And if the B10 Hockey pulls of Nebraska Omaha, as well? You’ll be “just fine” after 3 teams bolt? You don’t think that might have some aftershocks?

        • Ring_of_Fire

          Again with the arrogance….who says UNO would WANT to join the Big Ten?

          • B.D.

            Since when has UNO been a big ten member?
            He might as well said UND – such a laugh.

          • Mich95Alum

            UNO would just be a stand in until the real Nebraska gets it’s act together.

            But you are right, they probably wouldn’t want to be relegated to that sort of status.

            That’s ok, though…maybe the CCHA can pickup the Univesity of Michigan – Flint or Universtity of Michigan – Dearborn.

          • B.D.

            I will say that fielding a big ten conference will do wonders from Minnesota and Wisconsins scoring averages. Probably double digits each game.

            But without the North Dakota and Colorado schools they will be ill prepared for the nationals each year.

      • denveh

        yeah, was it the two “powers” of the future big 10 that made it into the tourney this year? no, it was five better, although smaller, schools! good riddance, they will come crawling back…

  • guest

    CCHA if Big Ten Network wants more games LET THEM. Fox Sports Detroit and Comcast show UM/MSU too much anyways. Get to a few more games on other campuses and these teams can also be televised on the Big 10 network

  • Michfan

    How does the league function with 6 teams? I am a Michigan fan and this move would make as much sense as the new B1g10en Logo and colors, not much. So you currently have in the CCHA 28 regular season games. That means you have to play every team in the Little Ten atleast 5 times. Then during the championships you have 3 games. I think ND would have to be brought in as well as Illinois to make it work with 8 teams and maybe adding Iowa (the problem with Iowa is their rink is in a mall) or Northwestern.

    • Ring_of_Fire

      No way Notre Dame will be brought in to a BTHC.

      The Big Ten has frequently and repeatedly told Notre Dame that it is not welcome to bring ANY sport into the Big Ten unless it also brings its football team. Which it won’t.

      Also, Illinois, Iowa, and Northwestern all have the teeny-tiny, insignificant, little problem of not having Division I college hockey programs.

      (Yes. I know. Programs could be started at those schools, but it took an $88,000,000 donation for Penn State to start one…anyone expect that to happen in Ames, Champagne, or Evanston?)

      • B.D.

        Wow, did not think of that.

      • boomer

        Purple and white D-1 hockey? Methinks not.

      • nebraskahockeyfan

        Iowa already has 5 USHL teams and another just across the river in omaha (although they used to play in Council bluffs) I dont think that Iowa or ISU or even UNI will ever start a hockey program. I highly doubt that there will ever be another major D-I school to start hockey. The Little Ten will remain at 6 for many many years to come.

      • http://centraliowalacrosse.sports.officelive.com/default.aspx Adam Edg

        The University of Iowa (Big Ten) is in Iowa City. The club team plays in the suburb of Corallville at a rink in a mall. Their bigger games (like Iowa State) are played in Cedar Rapids, which is like 15-20 minutes away from campus. Funding for a Hawkeyes D1 team would probably not be much more of a problem than it was for Penn State. Iowa is known for its premier Medical and Law schools – which means alumni with money. Most Iowa raised celebs (Ashton, Tom Arnold, etc) are Hawkeye fans as well. So it is possible, but I’d put it in the not likely column.
        Ames is home to Iowa State University (Big 12). The Cyclones have explored moving to D1 several times because the club team has been successful and has great support. It is supported better than MOST of the schools varsity teams. The current rink was built to facilitate the move, should it happen. I know we were very close in the late 1990s when I was in school, but moving up lost by a narrow margin. The number of successful engineering alumni also means funding is there and the fairly modern rink helps out. It probably needs some updating, but it is definitely usable. This is more likely than Iowa.
        Illinois (Big Ten) hockey has a lot in common with Iowa State. But I think they are even closer to being ready to move up because their recruiting has been top notch for a long time. I don’t think missed an ACHA tournament yet.

        • Ring_of_Fire

          Nice reply…and thanks for the correction. I had forgotten that Ames was the home of Iowa State, not Iowa. My bad.

          That said, I’m not sure you appreciate the actual resources necessary to start a D-1 hockey program. Not only are there dire facilities needs (I’ve seen the facilities at Iowa and Illinois and please pardon my bluntness when I say that they both suck and blow); but, there’s also travel, coaches, administrative staff, marketing, etc…etc…etc. Put another way, look at the $88,000,000 of outside money Penn State had to raise and consider that a starting point.

          Penn State was lucky in that the school had already set aside funds for the move to D-1. All they needed was a big donor. Which they found. Other state schools are not going to be so lucky. With state higher education budgets being slashed left, right and center; the first place universities are looking to cut is athletic department surpluses and the budgets of non-revenue producing sports. As such, the prospect of adding TWO MORE non-revenue varsity sports (don’t forget Title IX) and investing the money necessary to do it properly is simply not going to be on the table at a state school. At least, not right now.

          If I had to guess, I’d say that a serious discussion about D-1 hockey at Illinois is at LEAST a decade away…further at Iowa.

          • http://centraliowalacrosse.sports.officelive.com/default.aspx Adam Edg

            I agree with all of that. Iowa’s rink IS a joke. I am not as familiar with Illinois’ situation; I only vaguely remember what I was told by players over a decade ago.
            Honestly, if any Iowa school moved to D1 within the next decade, it would be ISU. They are closer to UNO and the Minnesota schools. Plus Ames is like 30-45 minutes from Des Moines, so you have much larger airport (Iowa City uses the smaller regional Cedar Rapids airport) and the metro population base. Add in that Ames has a high school team and Des Moines has two vs one in Cedar Rapids, plus Ames & DM have larger youth & adult programs and the potential fanbase is bigger. Iowa State’s ACHA team is also superior to Iowa’s in terms of quality, league (ISU is in a higher division), and current fan support. It would not help the Big Ten, but ISU would fit nicely in a revamped WCHA.
            Though I doubt that is anywhere close to happening unless the Cyclones realize that overspending on a crappy football team is less productive than building a strong hockey program like UNO.

          • Ring_of_Fire

            Nice post. “Liked.”

        • Impalervk

          The problem with Ilinois making the “BIG” step from club to varsity is they like being a big fish in a small pond. I live near Champaign so I have heard that possibility. Also if they did they could see about using the arena that the Bloomington Prairie Thunder (CHL) use until a new rink was built. Which is only 30-45 minutes away.

      • BDM

        Iowa State is in Ames. Iowa is in Iowa City. Champagne is an alcoholic beverage. Champaign is the town in which the University of Illinois is located.

        • Ring_of_Fire

          Yep. Keep reading and you’ll see how you’re the SECOND person to point that out. Thank you. I am doing my Act of Contrition and saying my Hail Mary’s right now.

          You’ll also notice how my geographic shortcomings don’t detract from my point.

      • Gemartin

        Notre Dame hates the Big Ten Conference. We play them in football because of long standing rival games, MI, Purdue, MI State,…. Big Ten thinks way too highly of themselves.

    • Hockey God

      North Dakota will not leave the WCHA.

      • Anonymous

        They are talking about Notre Dame not UND.

  • Css228

    They do realize they could have a separate mythical Ivy title just like the Ivy teams do within another league. They could just make sure they schedule all of the Big Ten teams during NC. It really wouldn’t be hard. I don’t get why they need to kill the WCHA and CCHA for the purposes of the Big Ten

  • Al

    The WCHA has a great opportunity to find out what life will be like without MN and WI. Both the Gophers and Badgers bombed out in the first round. Maybe they can sked future Final Five’s at Aldrich Arena.

    • WCHA Fan

      Ha, just move everything up to maplewood….I like it

    • Bellefys

      Where? So several hundred fans might show up, duh.

  • abc

    The days of the small school riding the gravy train are over. No more banking on making half your revenue for the year when the Minnesota Gophers come to play your team. I know nobody wants to talk about contraction, bit if your team can’t average 2000 fans a game then cut your program. That would wipe out half of the CCHA and probably 2 teams from the WCHA. The remaining teams can make up a pretty formidable WCHA/CCHA combined conference even without the Big Ten teams. This would raise the overall level of play and make NCAA talent more on par with Canada Major Juniors.

    • Cam

      hahahahaha. Yeah, I’m sure a few years from now when the Minnesota goofers have missed the NCAA tournament for the 10th straight year and Don Lucia gets another contract extension, everybody’s fans will be flooding to see their team play Minnesota…………..only because they know their team will be getting the win.

    • B.D.

      Does anybody think Penn State will get more than 2K per game?

      • MichAlum95

        I do. Ever been to Happy Valley? Not much else to do than watch the Nittany Lions… Huge Campus, lots of students.

        • Ring_of_Fire

          I agree. Penn State has, thus far, given every appearance of a school that is doing the jump to D-1 right. They are building a new, state of the art arena; leveraging alumni support; and presenting a united front in this endeavor, from the Trustees to the Athletic Department.

          I anticipate that they will draw well from both the school and the community at large…at least, at the outset.

          My concern, however, is that after a 2 year honeymoon period where they are excused for having a miserable record, what will attendance look like if they are still not competitive?

          • B.D.

            But does the culture there prize hockey?
            I see no evidence of it….

    • denveh

      I don’t know any WCHA that doesn’t draw more than 2000 per game. Maybe Tech, and you could understand why, but I would still doubt it with their great fans.

  • Union Alum ’97

    Another reason to root for small schools. Now the giant universities are going to try and ruin college hockey too. It won’t be that easy for them to do it though since some of these small schools actually give you and education too.

    • Anonymous

      Having another conference with decent coverage might actually help college hockey… thats if the teams stay decent and can compete… otherwise the rodent teams will come running back to the WCHA with their tails between their legs.

  • Cgp_999

    I’ve flip/flopped on this a lot and I think it would be cool to rotate the Final Five among Grand Forks, Duluth and Denver and return it to the original format. I don’t really care about a scheduling agreement with the Big Ten but would rather see a return to the scheduling agreement with Hockey East from when that conference first started and WCHA schools regularly played BU, BC, Maine and UNH. Let them have their Big Ten Conference, the WCHA will still have rivalries but will take a hit as far as TV coverage. I hope FSN would consider picking up Sioux or Bulldogs games on a regular basis though.

    • WCHA Fan

      They would never play any college hockey on FSN other than the goophs. Its a shame that anyone else in the area never gets to watch any of their teams play

      • B.D.

        Nearly all UND games are covered on Fox College Sports here in Arizona – Hallallujah!

        • Big AL

          BD – where are you from in AZ?

          • B.D.

            Fort Huachuca.

        • JCKC

          All UND home men’s hockey games are broadcast nationally live on Fox College Sports…let’s see one of these “Lil’ 10″ schools beat that with their silly little “Network”. And to the gentleman who posted he’s never seen UND grads throughout the country….there’s a reason UND pays FCS to broadcast nationally.

          • B.D.

            They pay? I figured FCS picked up the feed free from REA just to allow their own national commercials to be aired.

            Whatever it is I am happy with the results….

      • denveh

        DU games are generally on FSN (Root Sports) in Colorado. I think that if the WCHA were able to attract Miami and ND away from the CCHA, there could be some serious leverage for getting more games broadcast.

        • Bob

          Just not sure how that will work in terms of travel. Omaha is the closest drive from Oxford and that’s at least 9 hours. A flight every other weekend seems out of sorts with budgetary constraints. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Miami joining the WCHA if invited, but I don’t see how it could be possible financially.

    • Hockey God

      FSN (Fox Sports North) should really be called FSR (Fox Sports Rodents), it seem as though that’s all they care about.

      • B.D.

        I have noticed a certain “Boosterism” by thatbroadcast outlet.
        But the same can largely be said for the WDAZ team that covers the Sioux, though they are not NEARLY as bad as FSN.

  • Anonymous

    If you are going to create a B10: which I feel they shouldn’t. Why not then create and Ivy League. Then you can combine the remainder of the ECAC with the AHA teams that want to stay in D1. Those that don’t can pursue D3 teams.

    • Css228

      Too many great rivalries to break up by destroying the ECAC. Mainly Cornell Clarkson and Cornell Colgate, but the ECAC already had a bunch of teams split off once and it just got weaker. It doesn’t need to do it again and harm its remaining tradition (what I would do to see BU at Lynah Rink once more)

      • Msullivan

        Yes, I remember some of the matchups from back yonder.

        No doubt in my lifetime, BC will be the ACC hockey champion. Virginia Tech will be pretty good if you give them 5 years./

      • Spidermonkey86

        The ECAC does have great rivalries but I agree the addition of RIT & Niagara will only help it. The Ivy’s can sustain themselves outside of the ECAC.

        As far as the AHA goes, I respect the work those kids put into their hockey; but the AHA will never be even close to HE WCHA CCHA or B10.

        It would be best to pull apart the conference, send the strong teams i.e Niagara, Robert Morris, Mercyhurst, RIT,Holy Cross, over to the ECAC. Send The Air force Academy to the CCHA. and unite the two Alaska’s in one conference.

        The remaining AHA teams I’m sorry to say don’t belong in D1 hockey. The can go independent or go the D2 route.

    • LtPowers

      DII schools like AIC can’t field D3 teams without forgoing postseason eligibility. If they wanted to be like St. Anselm and St. Michaels, they could have chosen to do so ten years ago.

    • LL

      Never liked the Ivy teams in the ECAC, they need to go off on there own with their 29 game season. Id like to see a NY based league with the 6 remaining ECAC schools and add in RIT and Niagara. Syracuse is also an option if they ever want to start a mens team. Although, I always thought if Hockey East wanted to expand to 12 teams that Quinnipiac and RPI would be a nice fit with that league.

  • Scott in Indy

    As a Big Ten and UW Badgers fan, as much as I’d like conference matchups vs. Michiagan, MSU and OSU, Big Ten Conference hockey would be a real BAD IDEA!!!!!!! The WCHA and CCHA are the 1st and 3rd best college hockey conferences and too much would be lost. Re-visit the idea if the you get 8 or 9 Big Ten schools that want D1 hockey, not just 6.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KBVOP7JEIJTGTBGPEMTI67KVLU J

    i like it because this helps show that schools are interested in getting hockey programs, big schools have money and you need money to play hockey……

  • Bklein09

    Wow I cant believe all the negativity around this idea. No surpass that the majority of the complaints are coming from non big ten team fans.

    As a Michigan fan I am thrilled about this. It cannot happen soon enough. Of course I’d prefer an 8 or 10 team conference. But 6 is fine. Play each other team 4 times and do a ton of nonconferejce games. That way Michigan can keep playing Miami, ND, etc. And other big teams can continue their old rivalries.

    The CCHA and wcha will be just fine. They both have power teams that can carry the conference. Plus it will open up room in both of them for new teams to make the division one leap.

    People need to just accept that this is happening and stop complaining. Personally I can’t wait!

    Go Blue!

    • Ring_of_Fire

      Your post can be summed up in five words: “Yay me! Screw everybody else!”

    • nebraskahockeyfan

      The WCHA will be fine. UND, UNO, DU, CC, UMD and even SCSU are all quality programs and are goin get the recruits regardless of what U of M and Wis do. They dont get much TV time anyway. Sure FSN covers them when they play the gophers and rightly so, FSN covers twin city based teams not minnesota based teams. Then the sioux (i can still call them that right!) have their own network (FSSN). So i really dont think anything gonna change that much.

      • Anders

        Hmm, if you’re going to include your team, UNO, you should probably not forget about Bemidji. You know why ;) But having Dean Blais as a coach and looking at the recruits he’s picking up, you guys will be a good team for the coming years. Bemidji is slowly getting those higher caliber players and competed pretty darn well in their first year of the league, as did you guys. BSU’s record wouldn’t show for it that much but they took Duluth to ot two nights in a row, played ‘sconi and DU close, took 3 of 4 from CC…so on and so forth. Just don’t overlook BSU. Regarding the TV coverage, FSN is exclusive to UMinn, besides for the final five. That’s why it is biased because they basically cover every gopher sport; ie Tubby Smith show (basketball), Tim Brewster show, which will be some other no-namer now (football), etc etc. They don’t televise a game that the gophers aren’t playing in, unless it’s the final five. BSU’s games are broadcasted across a large part of the region on Lakeland TV. I’ve had friends in SE Iowa get games on at their house. So they cover a good amount of area on tv. As for big ten hockey…I don’t know if it could get that popular. I mean how long will it take Penn state to actually compete? And Ohio state for that matter… It’ll basically be a 4-league team. Not a fan. So be it I guess.

    • Msullivan

      The Big Ten should strive for nine hockey teams long-term.

      That would help balance against the 11 teams in football and basketball.

      Some good new material for those half-time football commercials — “We’re the Big Ten — An Average Worth Striving For!”

      • Mich95Alum

        B10 will actually have 12 teams.

        I think since Nebraska-Lincoln doesn’t have their act together, the B10 hockey conference should invite Nebraska-Omaha as a proxy.

        Maybe grab Notre Dame as well. If I were the B10 commissioner, I’d have an open invitation to ND anytime, any sport.

        With ND and UNO, that’s 8 teams, with a variety of skill levels. That’s a conference.–and a conference that people will watch.

        • Ring_of_Fire

          The Big Ten doesn’t want any Notre Dame team unless The Irish also bring their football team. This has been repeated loudly and frequently.

          Granted, the landscape may well change with hockey, but I doubt it.

          • Gemartin

            As a Notre Dame life long fan, I say F### the Big Ten.

    • patrick75

      Very few BIG10 fans are as excited as you are about this… no one in gopher nation is happy about losing the great games we have against NoDak, Duluth, Denver, CC, etc. I’m sure the feeling is the same for UW.

      There are no good hockey rivalries with us and the CCHA teams that will make up the BIG10.

  • Bulldog Fan in Circle Pines

    As a Minnesota Duluth fan I would love to see UMD, UND, SCSU, Denver, CC, UNO leave the WCHA and form a new conference with Miami and Notre Dame. That conference would be much deeper than any Big Ten conference. This idea probably won’t happen but it would be great to see.

    • LtPowers

      Leaving the small Minnesota and Michigan schools where?

      • Bulldog Fan in Circle Pines

        That’s the problem with my idea. The remaining smaller schools would have a very difficult time try to compete and that would not be good for college hockey.

        • Darker98

          Blame the Big Ten Schools. They started it. Why is it UMD, UND. SCSU. Denver, C.C., UNO, Miami, and Notre Dame’s problem to save college hockey?

    • B.D.

      As a kid I remember Notre Dame playing UND each season so I assume they were WCHA back in the 1970′s. They were not a big loss when their team was canceled in the late 70′s.

  • Umdbhik

    If you’re going to take the two largest programs from our conference, at least give us a video game for the trouble…

  • HockeyFan

    The CCHA could use one more team. Hey! Maybe Penn State could join :o

    • mrscharf

      Alabama Huntsville?


    If it happens that the Big Ten forms a hockey conference the WCHA and CCHA should reshuffle like this.
    WCHA- Bemidji St., Colorado College, Denver, Duluth, Mankato, Miami, Notre Dame, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St.Cloud
    CCHA- Anchoage, Bowling Green, Fairbanks, Ferris St., Lake Superior, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, Western Michigan

    • MaineFan

      LOL, so basically…give Atlantic Hockey some competition for worst conference? (new CCHA sans Michigan, MSU, Miami, ND)

      • Bellefys


    • Rob

      You are joking right?? Give me a break.

    • Anonymous

      that totally screws the CCHA and makes the WCHA even more of a powerhouse tho…

    • http://www.facebook.com/Dash.driver Brandon G Boetcher

      You are willing to give up the McNaughton Cup?

    • UMD Bulldog Fan

      Why would Alaska be put in the CCHA! As for the WCHA that looks fine to me. I am sure the remain WCHA teams would be ready when they get a chance to play eiether the Gophers or Badgers so they can kick thier asses.

      My other question is that if the Big Ten conference fails are there old leagues going to let them back in????

  • Bulldog07

    I’m speaking from an eastern perspective here, but couldn’t both the CCHA and WCHA survive with a healthy number of teams by making just a few moves with UAH and Atlantic?

    Move Air Force and Alaska-Anchorage into the WCHA, putting it back to 12 teams; and then bring in UAH to the CCHA to get it back to 8. Maybe include Robert Morris to give 9 teams to CCHA and 10 to Atlantic Hockey. Total of three teams changing conferences and one team being allowed to survive, and puts the WCHA back whole and prevents the gutting of the CCHA.

    The ECAC teams aren’t going to break up, nor are Hockey East. And I’ve always thought Air Force being the lone western team in Atlantic Hockey to be a bit odd.


    • B.D.

      UAA is already a WCHA team.
      I always wondered why Air Force was not in WCHA, but assumed it was so they could face Army?

      • SCSU +/-

        Yep, the reason they moved to that conference was so they could have a regular “military academy” rival, similar to those in other sports.

        • B.D.

          Yeah, but speaking as s soldier, no one ever cares if Army beats the zoomies, we want to know if we beat the squids….And the squids at Annapolis don’t have a team.

    • Anonymous

      Alaska-Anchorage is already in the WCHA.

    • Gary

      Ur absolutely right Bulldog. I’ve said for years that the two Alaska teams should be in the same league as well as Airforce with CC and DU. I wasn’t pleased that the CCHA turned down UAH a year ago either. We should group
      schools more logically.

      • FightingWho?

        the two Alaska teams are in different conferences so that each the WCHA and CCHA can each share the cost of flying them down here. both programs would have gone under (not from lack of talent) if they couldnt share travel costs.

  • John

    Wisconsin has 15000 reasons and Minnesota 10000 reasons for joining the Big ten Hockey league. Opps, I mean thats the number of fans that attend those schools and what would one rather do travel to Omaha, Anchorage and Houghton or Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio St, and Msu? So many economic reasons beyond the tv contract.

  • Iver7en

    I personally can’t wait to see Mr Danny kristo play in the regionals… maybe even the final five… he’s been cleared by the doc and is skating… beware opposing PK units and third lines…

    • Anonymous

      Not gonna lie Kristo has done jack all year… was looking like a real prospect last season and has only disappointed me so far.

      • Anegadatoretola1

        he got cold feet

  • hobey

    The driving force behind this is that the Big Ten Network has an open TV slot on Friday night. They have nothing else to put on their channel except some replay of the consolation game from the womens 1993 volleyball tournament. This idea of needing a big ten conference is hockey is STUPID. Hockey is different from football and basketball, they dont need to do the same thing. Some of the longest and best rivalies in college hockey are going to be split up. Just a few from the WCHA – Minn vs No Dak, Wisc vs No Dak, CC vs Minn, CC vs Wisc, Denver vs Minn, Den vs Wisc, also not to mention the interstate rivalies. Theirs 5 D1 schools in MN, your going to remove the big school, which everybody wants to beat. You have several kids who played together growing up and now one goes to Minn and others go to SCSU, UMD, Bemidji, Mankato — these kids have something to prove and that makes it exciting for the fans. Has anyone of these people making this decision ever been to the National Hockey Center or the DECC(Amsoil arena) on a friday night and experienced some of these games. The bottom line is that some executive THINKS this is good, but the only reason is they see a dollar sign, which is a shame for the fans of the game, because they are going to ruin it.

    • Sbaumann

      Think about it, the BTN has an open slot or two on Friday nights but what happens to Saturday night games ? You think the BTN will give up those guys running around in their underware bouncing a round ball on Saturdays.

    • USCHO Reader

      Agree that all the Minnesota D1 teams should stay in the WCHA. Best for Minnesota hockey. Big ten is mostly about football and basketball anyway.

      But if the goal is to have hockey at all the big ten schools then it could be good for hockey. Would be great to bring College hockey to hockey starved Illinois (Millions of Blackhawks fans there).

      • B.D.

        Do the schools prize hockey in Chicago? Do they have high school teams of any consequense? State tournaments?

        • Wally

          There’s what is called a Blackhawk Cup…the top 32 teams in the Chicagoland area. And yes, there are some dominant teams in the state like New Trier (Blue & Green) as well as Glenbrook North. Hockey is a HUGE sport in high schools in Chicago.

      • randyplatz

        blackhawk fans are the worst. sure they were loving it last season, but now its all empty seats and apathy.

        • Tommy

          Empty seats? Who are you kidding? They sell over capacity every single game, with arguably the largest arena in North America.

    • chickenstrip6

      The fact that rivalries will be split up is irrelevant. There are plenty of non-conference rivals (UAA & Alaska-Fairbanks, Air Force & Denver/CC, Michigan Tech & Northern Mich., Bemidji & Alabama-Huntsville, etc.). Plus the biggest WCHA rivalry (Minnesota & Wisconsin) would be retained if they both moved to the Big Ten. Since there would be only 6 teams, I’m sure there would be a lot of non-conference games, so they could still play a lot of games against WCHA teams throughout the year, and could thus hold the NoDak and other minnesota team rivalries, just as Minnesota and Wisconsin still play Michigan and Michigan State every year, even though those two left the WCHA.

      Some want to keep all the minnesota teams in the same conference. That’s stupid, because there aren’t any other states with a lot of teams in them that keep all of those teams in one conference (New York or Michigan?). I think spreading out minnesota teams in different conferences would be good, getting minnesota talent shown around the country, not just in the WCHA. WCHA teams do not play many non-conference games, so having minnesota go to the big ten would give them more variety in their schedule.

      • collegehockeyfan

        you know that would be ideal if we could keep all that crap, but the fact is, with only 6 teams in a conference, this causes problems scheduling with non-conference games. For example, the WCHA would have 10 teams still. They have to finish their conference schedule, which leaves 3-5 non conference series TOPS.

        This would in fact DEMOLISH college hockey. Yes, the big ten would get their glory, I feel like all they want is for people to tell them they are the best. This move would kill the small programs that thrive off of games from the larger schools.

        I could see the CCHA losing a few programs as well as maybe tech out of the WCHA, which is not what anyone wants to see.

        Also the Big Ten would ruin the long history and tradition that the CCHA and WCHA hold. This would be a HUGE reallignment of college hockey and I think would completely sink the sport for what it is.

  • GS

    Maybe the Big Ten schools want their own conference to make sure someone makes the NCAA tournament. Take a look at the PairWise this year. The only Big Ten school that will make the tournament is Michigan. The Big Ten hockey conference is an arrogant idea.

  • Kuhn&Friends

    I find it funny, out of past 22 years (how long i’ve been alive) there has been two big ten teams matching up in the CCHA final only 6 times. less than 33% of the time. And most of those were U of M. So if the big ten thinks they are high and mighty let them be, I will be laughing when U of M gets the automatic bid every year and no one else from that conference gets an invite.
    With that being said, GO BRONCOS, beat U of M and show them are small schools are just as worthy as you big schools.

    • BDM

      Western isn’t a small school. And, as a Michigan grad and fan, I’ve always respected the Bronco hockey program. I think it will survive just fine no matter how this plays out.

  • Bht

    I realize the shortsightedness of these posts but there was other hockey conferences prior to the WHCA. why would anyone think it would stay the same forever? Why not try to expand the sport by adding hockey at the University of Nebraska-lincoln, the Illini. both areas would have recruiting areas to pull from. Add western schools like USC, Arizona. Move college hockey forward. I remember reading an article with an interview from Paul Kelly earlier this year talking about the wanting to expand the college hockey landscape by 5-6 teams.

    • nebraskahockeyfan

      lincoln doesnt have the infrastructure to support a D-I Hockey team. They barely have the the resources to support their USHL team. The storm play in a barn on the fairgrounds which is the only ice in town and their club team plays in fremont (1hr drive). Lincoln is building a new arena in the haymarket district which will host the husker basketball teams but no plans on setting it up for ice. Thats why Nebraska Omaha got the hockey team and not lincoln.

      • gophssuck

        its the stars you idiot

      • Hockey Fan in Lincoln

        “They barely have the the resources to support their USHL team.”
        I have to disagree with your statement. They consistently lead the USHL in attendance with 3,500 – 4,000 per game.

        “The storm play in a barn on the fairgrounds…”
        Do you mean the Stars??? The Storm play in Kearney, west of Lincoln. Again, that barn you speak of holds 4,000+ fans.

        “…no plans on setting it up for ice.”
        Again, I have to disagree. The Breslow Ice Arena (two sheets of ice) is the only part of the arena that has been fully (privately) funded.

        As a “nebraskahockeyfan” you really don’t know much about hockey in the state.

        With Nebraska-Lincoln’s move to the Big Ten next year, if they ever did try to transistion their club team to D1, they would logically also become a Big Ten hockey program.

        • B.D.

          Have em try DIII first so it is not such a shocking event. Having a club team jump to the Div I is bound to be embarrassing.

    • Ring_of_Fire

      Expansion is a nice thought, but the problem is that, aside from Penn State, no schools in recent memory have expressed serious interest in developing a true Division I hockey presence.

      And also there’s the money. Penn State needed a commitment of $88,000,000 to start their program. That’s an absolute truck-load of money…particularly for a state sponsored school feeling the crunch of budget cuts.

      This is a niche sport. Always has been. Probably always will be. In order to expand it into markets that don’t have a history of college hockey, a long, difficult road is ahead. That, of course, isn’t to say that said road shouldn’t be traveled. Obvious target markets do exist…but it will likely be a decade or more before we see any meaningful expansion.

  • Cool Hand

    I would love to see Notre Dame and Miami-OH be invited and join the WCHA.

    • Gfkbob

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see Notre Dame and Miami investigate joining Hockey East. They aren’t going to travel to Colorado Springs, Mankato and Duluth on a reqular basis.

      • denveh

        riiiight, because boston, orono, and burlington are SO much closer…. read a map jaggof

    • gary

      Why?, So the CCHA would be down to six teams? And why ND and Miami.
      Sure ,they are good teams now, but college hockey success runs in spurts. Remember when LSSU and NMU were winning regularly. I remember NMU beating the likes of ND by 10-1 scores. I don’t care much for the disparity in fan numbers when big 10 teams play the smaller schools anyway, so I’m not opposed to MI, WI etc. going separate ways. I certainly do not forsee a disparity in the quality of hockey regardless of who’s playing and I would not expect the big ten members to win any greater share of championships.

  • Anonymous

    So, realistically, how many of the more casual Gopher fans would actually care to watch their team take on Ohio State? Yes, they’re a big draw in other sports, but I would argue that they’re more likely to sell out against Mankato than any of their Big 10 rivals barring Wisconsin. Take a look at the Gopher’s travel schedule and traditional rivalries, why bite on a Big 10 league with all that they’ve got going for them?

    This doesn’t help college hockey, if anything it only hurts both the CCHA and WCHA in the name of ad revenue and the Big 10 Network. Disgraceful…

  • Adub

    I suppose you could call it a 6 team league, but only 4 will actually be good, if I can even say that. Penn state won’t be good for at least 3 years (probably being VERY generous), and Ohio state would need a few years to be decent too. MN MI WI MState would be in their own little world…

  • GS

    When I think of this really bad idea for college hockey, I remind myself that last year Sid Hartman said that the Gophers just couldn’t compete with the likes of Bemidji State. I think his reasoning was something to do with hockey being Bemidji’s only Division I program. I am still laughing myself silly. However, maybe these Big Ten schools, that really take football and basketball more seriously than hockey, should be together. Then they don’t have to compete with the smaller schools who prioritize their hockey programs.

  • WCHA fan

    1) TV is dead. Broadcast the games on the Internet and let everyone across the country be able to subscribe.

    2) Womens WHCA will take a big hit. They’ll lose 3 teams.

    3) Notre Dame used to be in the WCHA so they’re welcome to come back.

    4) WCHA should pick up the other Alaska and Air Force and make East and West divisions to control travel costs.

  • Anegadatortola1

    I hope this just a bad, really bad joke. Do not allow the “BIG10″ to get involved in Hockey. They have had zero interest in the 50 plus years of ncaa hocky, just leave hockey alone, and out of the greedy hands.

  • http://frankthetank.wordpress.com/ Frank the Tank

    I’m the writer of a blog called Frank the Tank’s Slant that has followed Big Ten expansion and conference realignment in general. For disclosure purposes, I attended Illinois, so I’m looking at this from the perspective as someone that’s not immersed in the day-to-day details of college hockey, but has a fairly in-depth understanding of how the Big Ten works and the revenue issues at hand.

    A few points:

    (1) The Big Ten Network has been VERY frustrated dealing with the CCHA and WCHA in terms of procuring TV rights for hockey games. The BTN would’ve loved to have had a weekly Friday night game at the very least (and even during basketball season, there’s pretty much always room on Saturday for at least one game). However, the CCHA and WCHA were not nearly as willing to provide rights to games as the Big Ten originally anticipated, which has led to fairly haphazard hockey coverage on the BTN so far. The irony is that the CCHA and WCHA may very well have shot themselves in the foot in the long run by protecting so many Michigan and Minnesota games in the short run, as this gave the Big Ten MUCH more incentive to form their own league. Even if the CCHA and WCHA moved off their stances, it would be too little too late at this point with Penn State coming in. Hockey games are the highest rated programs on the BTN outside of football and basketball games – the BTN absolutely wants to showcase hockey very badly.

    (2) Illinois and Indiana are planning to either have massive renovations to or brand new multipurpose basketball arenas within the next few years, so that’s part of the reason those two schools come up a lot in hockey expansion discussions as having icemaking capabilities for those arenas is likely. So, it’s not quite correct that they would need to raise the same $88 million that Penn State had to start its program (at least in terms of facilities). Both Illinois and Indiana are already looking to commit to large capital expenditures for new and/or improved arenas, so the hockey facility component would be encompassed in that.

    (3) Penn State’s football program has made obscene amounts of money for all of the other Big Ten schools (especially not-so-great programs like Minnesota) via football TV contracts and its regional leverage with the Big Ten Network. Thus, there will not be one single iota of sympathy for a school like Minnesota having to give up comparable pennies for its local hockey TV contract or rivalries in the WCHA. None. Nada. Zilch. Minnesota needs Big Ten football money a whole lot more than the WCHA – the Gophers will be team players. It is a Big Ten school first and foremost.

    (4) I’m sure some may call this comment callous, but from a simple financial perspective, if a hockey program can’t survive simply because they can’t host Michigan or Minnesota for 2 games per year, then the viability of that hockey program is awful and has a whole lot deeper problems that can’t be solved by forcing those big schools to stay in the same conference.

    • B.D.

      Hey, Hockey played in facilities originally dsigned or basketball is a hideous thing. The seating and sightlines are all wrong.

      WHo can’t host Minnesota for two games per year? Curious.By that statement since North Dakota usually gets 12,000+ fans to a Gopher/Sioux game, it would be MORE viable than any Big ten matchup, right?

  • Bob

    Not sure how this will shake out but it seems to make sense that the CCHA will survive. When they are down to 8 teams, they could try to poach a few schools from Atlantic Hockey to get to at least 10. Mercyhurst and RMU would seem to be geographic fits. Not sure if anyone will pick up poor UAH. From a travel perspective Hockey East and the WCHA just don’t seem to fit for Notre Dame or Miami so I think they’ll stay put.

  • Gemartin

    The WCHA will be fine without the two rodent schools moving to the Big Ten. We can do nothing or go after Air Force & and Notre Dame. In any event, certain rival game can still be played in NC setting. Sioux Fans still love Gopher and Badger meat over a wood fire. Trouble is they both taste like “Chicken”

  • Rick

    For those talking about how creating the B1G TEN will help benefit these schools with recruiting…will these players really make deciding factors hearing that Big Ten hockey exists? There’s no history, they’re not tested, who knows if they’ll succeed. That being said, will that make bunches of athletes flock to these schools over say Miami or UNO or ND?

  • Anonymous

    Air Force to the WCHA, UAH and Mercyhurst to the CCHA, Syracuse to Atlantic Hockey….

  • Rallenhall

    I have to kind of chuckle at the comments of moving Miami to the WCHA or elsewhere. Miami, BG, and WMU are all litter mates … non-BCS schools struggling to maintain D-1 football programs. Regardless of how we feel about hockey, the football budget still wags the dog. These mid-majors just don’t have the resources to support additional hockey travel.

  • Gopherfan2

    I think this is stupid, all of this is because Penn State wanted to have a hockey team. We don’t even know if they are going to be good yet. This will also take away some giant rivalry’s like UND vs. U of M.

  • Jfherman1

    After reading almost all the comments here, a few things stand out. Some of
    you have serious and well thought out ideas. Some of yoou need to get a
    life. As an eastern fan (Providence College), I am glad that Penn State is
    moving to Div 1. The move is shaking up college hockey. In the long run
    this can only help. Any move in college sports usually comes down to the
    almighty dollar. Expenses are horrendous and not going to improve any time
    soon. That being said, there are hockey fans in Mississippi, New Mexico,
    Kentucky. For me – the more the merrier.

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