College Hockey:
Schools confirm new six-team league; news conference set for Wednesday

The six schools involved in a new conference have confirmed their intentions in a news release issued Saturday.

Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota will form the new conference starting in the 2013-14 season, the same time that the Big Ten will form a six-team league.

“We understand and appreciate the widespread interest in developments relating to the formation of the new hockey conference,” the release, issued in the names of the schools’ six athletic directors, said. “More information will be provided about the initiatives that have been undertaken, as well as the next steps involved, at a news conference in Colorado Springs this Wednesday, July 13. Our programs look forward to continued associations with our current leagues, the WCHA and CCHA, for the next two seasons.”

Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota will leave the WCHA, while Miami will depart from the CCHA. Minnesota and Wisconsin are also leaving the WCHA for the Big Ten, where they will join Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State from the CCHA. Penn State is starting a new program in 2012 and will be the Big Ten’s sixth team.

The full press release from the six schools in the new conference follows:

A Joint Statement from: Peg Bradley-Doppes, Director of Athletics, University of Denver; Ken Ralph, Director of Athletics, Colorado College; Brad Bates, Director of Athletics, Miami University; Bob Nielson, Director of Athletics, University of Minnesota Duluth; Trev Alberts, Director of Athletics, University of Nebraska Omaha; Brian Faison, Director of Athletics, University of North Dakota

We are pleased to announce that six top NCAA Division I ice hockey programs will become founding members of a newly formed hockey conference, which will begin competition for the 2013-14 season. The six institutions are Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Nebraska Omaha and University of North Dakota.

We understand and appreciate the widespread interest in developments relating to the formation of the new hockey conference. More information will be provided about the initiatives that have been undertaken, as well as the next steps involved, at a news conference in Colorado Springs this Wednesday, July 13. Our programs look forward to continued associations with our current leagues, the WCHA and CCHA, for the next two seasons.

Additional information about Wednesday’s news conference will be forthcoming in the next few days. There will be no further comment from athletic directors, coaches or other officials from any of the institutions until Wednesday’s news conference.

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  • bluetell

    well…that is unfortunate for UAA, Bemidji, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and St Cloud St. I give it 1 week before Notre Dame announces they’re out of the CCHA

  • Guest

    Dear Penn St and North Dakota,
    Thanks for ruining College hockey as we know it.


    The Leftovers

    • David123

      North Dakota just got tired of all these second class programs getting free rides from them.  When your fans fill the Xcel Center and travel the country like Sioux fans, then you can complain.  After the BTHC was officially a go, UND made the decision to do what was best for them.  Sorry St. Cloud, Bemidji, Mankato and others can’t be what they should be right now, very grateful to UND for the past help. 
      And if you still want someone to blame, then go bark up the BTHC schools’ trees as well as Bruce McLeod.  UND only did what you wish your school would have. 

      • Guest

        Your fans fill/travel cause there is literally nothing to do in ND

        • Dave

          That is a great reply which contributes greatly to this discussion.  Thank you for your contribution.

          • Hockey

            Yeah I’m pretty sure those leftover schools don’t have to thank UND for anything.  Nothing more than UND has to thank them.  Wow maybe a few more fans in the seats.  Not like they need UND to survive or benefit from.

        • Suture

          Guest, just when I think you sound like a reasonable person with an occasional smart comment you go and make comments like this?  Come on buddy, are you hurting this badly?  Hey, if your team is one of the “leftovers” then just start cheering for the Sioux.  You will rarely leave the arena feeling bad because we only lose about 6-8 games each year, they sell beer at the Ralph, we pull in 1-2 first round draft picks each year and you will be assured of making it to the Frozen Four 3 years out of 4.  See, just change buddy…..if you can’t beat’em….join’em…..;)   Wow, I did not actually realize how awesome we really are…..lol..   By the way, not all Sioux fans live in North Dakota…..we fly in for the weekend party most of the time….:) 

          • Anonymous

            whoa now. unless you’re talking about all the aviation majors, I don’t think UND grads can get degress that pay that much. let’s be honest. and you forgot to mention falling short of the National Championship year in and year out just like most other teams in the country.

          • Big Ten=Zero Success

            I think the students in the medical and law programs do alright.

          • Dkoller

            Your shot against UND grads and their ability to earn falls a little short when you misspell “degree”.  Funny though.  Thanks!

          • Anonymous

            You’re right, that definitely wasn’t a typo! I just thought “degree” was spelled “degress.” I’m just going to say that I’d rather have a degree from any Big Ten school as opposed to UND, and that’s not because I hate the Sioux. Almost anyone else who knows anything about education would too.

          • UND out west

            Really? I am a UND Graduate and I work for a Google Ventures backed tech company in Boulder, CO. I do quite well; I ski and travel at will! I am only 26 so i’d be willing to bet that you have nothing on me there bud! Get real son!

          • 5thYearFreshman

            Get used to losing more often because you won’t be getting gimmes vs. Michigan Tech and Anchorage every year any more.  I expect a lot of teams in this Western league will gravitate closer to .500, especially in league play.  I just don’t picture ND getting through this conference year in and year out with 6-8 losses in the season.

      • Hockey

        Maybe North Dakota just got scared.  Didn’t know what to do without MN and Wisconsin.  Started crying and then Denver felt sorry for them.  Said my goodness stop being such a baby and scared UND.  We will make a new conference for you.

        Don’t go ripping other people for blaming these schools for making a new conference by telling them to blame the Big 10.  Just because they went and did there thing first.

        • Dave

          Ok, try using complete sentences, not just partial thoughts.  And learn correct grammar and the correct use of the word ‘there’.  Once you have accomplished this, you may post comments on here again. 

    • Dino

      North Dakota didn’t ruin college hockey but it’s fans did

    • Anonymous

      ……..and we’re all hoping on of the WCHA/CCHA left over teams wins a title before North Dakota does.

    • Dave

      Once again, did ND start this shift?? And im sorry your team got left behind, but perhaps it will be good for them in the combined conference.  Im assuming your team is in the WCHA so you’re welcome it just got a hell of a lot easier to win that conference.

    • Talk2tim

      Your welcome, :)

    • ROBO

      I simply don’t get UNO…they have bee medicore at best!  One good year is all they have ever had really….well maybe 2 or 3….but seriously!?!?  UMD has had many, many average years as well. 

  • Kylehaller

    North Dakota, CC, Denver and MN-Duluth go F’ yourself

    • Dave

      Because??? And why did you leave out Nebraska Omaha?

      • jmsptrk

        maybe he’s a maverick fan.

      • 5thYearFreshman

        UNO’s along for the ride.  If they’d been asked and refused, they’d be in the same boat as SCSU and the other WCHA leftovers.  They HAD to take this or get left out in the cold when the conference asked another school who would jump at the offer. 

        The ire is on North Dakota, Denver and Duluth because they CHOSE to do this.  Well, that and because North Dakota is North Dakota.

    • UNDColorado

      What wrong little guy? Cant handle a bit of change and adversity? Welcome to America; ice cream melts!

  • Csitzman

    I find it interesting and disappointing to see the NCAA doing absolutely nothing to control college sports anymore.  In all sports it is anything goes to make a buck and the big programs are allowed to completely control revenues and competition, with the NCAA merely serving as a tool for promoting the major programs and putting up the facade of “student” athleticism and fair competition.  Once again, the big programs all come together to manipulate the entire sport to meet their selfish desires only and end all hope of the other colleges being able to build their programs and grow the sport.  This foolish belief that all of the conference changes will eventually lead to the growth of college hockey is just a bunch of idiotic bull.  Instead, we can now be assured that a number of DI programs will either completely fold or drop to lower divisions (Bowling Green, UAA, UAF, Michigan Tech, Northern Michicigan, just to name a few).  Yes, the surviving members of the WCHA and CCHA will probably band together into their own conference, but do not stand a chance of becoming a strong competitive force in college hockey because they will be hampered in their ability to access TV and tournament revenues, and recruit top notch talent.  Do you really think ESPN is going to travel to Alaska to broadcast a game and what cable or dish network are going to be willing to provide them with their own conference channel on either a basic or premium package?  At best the “scrubs” conference will be allowed on automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament, but not a chance that any team other than the conference champion will earn a spot because the “quality” bias built into the selection system and the obvious “less than” stereotype that will be applied to the conference as a whole and each team individually.  And does anyone really believe that the “scrubs” conference will be allowed to play any of the elite teams in non-conference regular season competition?  Very simply, after 2014, teams like Bemidji and Mankato will never again get the opportunity to play North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin (unless of course they are willing to make it a road game, forfeit all gate receipts and possibly pay a fee to play).  It is not in the financial best interest of the big name teams to schedule a “scrub” conference team, even more so if it requires them to travel, so you know it just won’t happen.  So goodbye fairness and sportsmanship, and hello big $$$ for all of the high and mighty WCHA traitors! 

    • Oxtreeman

      Why should the NCAA be involved in the formation of a new conference?  Where in the NCAA mission statement does it say it must govern such action?

      If you go to the NCAA web site, you will find the following:

      Core Values
      The Association – through its member institutions, conferences and national office staff – shares a belief in and commitment to:
      • The collegiate model of athletics in which students participate as an avocation, balancing their academic, social and athletics experiences.
      • The highest levels of integrity and sportsmanship.
      • The pursuit of excellence in both academics and athletics.
      • The supporting role that intercollegiate athletics plays in the higher education mission and in enhancing the sense of community and strengthening the identity of member institutions.
      • An inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student-athletes and career opportunities for coaches and administrators from diverse backgrounds.
      • Respect for institutional autonomy and philosophical differences.
      • Presidential leadership of intercollegiate athletics at the campus, conference and national levels.

      Tha one core value I would like to talk about here is the ” Respect for institutional autonomy and philosophical differences.” 

      You don’t like the idea of a split…you’re upset…I’m get that.  You have little faith that the “scrub” teams (your term, not mine) will fold or drop down a level.  Shame on you.  These schools have long and proud traditions…you have so little faith that these schools can overcome and grow.  It’s so easy for you to cry foul because change is coming and you don’t like it.  You feel like someone should come in and make it all better for you.

      We live in a free market society…six schools decided to be proactive…what do you have to be mad about?  Why should the NCAA get involved?  Did these schools break any rules?  Do you really think College Hockey is so weak that it’s going to implode? 

      If the program you support isn’t one of the six schools in the new conference,  that shouldn’t change your loyalties.  These six school are still going to have to play other schools…it opens up schedualing options for them as well as other schools…Denver at Bowling Green? Great!  CC at Lake State? Why not?

      The glass is not half empty…or broken as you see it.  I think it is half full…Change can be a exciting opportunity…it’s just how you view it.

      • Guest

        i think what Csitzman is saying, and it’s a very valid point, is that this change could likely lead to his team and others like it being gone altogether.  some of these smaller “scrub” programs are hanging on by a thread as it is.  hockey is an expensive sport to maintain, and usually one of the first on the chopping block when schools look to cut back.  if these conference changes could lead to lesser turnout since the big schools won’t be coming to town as much.  I for one wish the NCAA would step in.  Free-market economy is great for those getting richer.  not so great for those getting poorer.

    • Anonymous

      So, Notre Dame is a lock to join HEA now, but who else? Uconn?

      • Joe C

        If Notre Dame decides to join Hockey East, expect UConn to get the invite about a nanosecond later. Joe Bertagna is on record as being opposed to having an odd number of teams for scheduling reasons. That was the case before Vermont jumped from ECAC to HE.

        UConn women are already in Hockey East. All of the other current and former Big East schools with hockey programs are in Hockey East, so you have a familiarity of Athletic Directors. Connectict has begun to produce NCAA and NHL talent and is a huge untapped market outside of Yale.

        UConn and Notre Dame, along with the current members, would make for excellent TV possibilities, especially for the UConn-loving ESPN/ESPNU crowd, as well as being another possibility for NESN. Do not discount the size of the UConn student body and the availibility of the local AHL-level rink in Hartford, which could be home to Northeast NCAA regionals. (As an aside, it would be fun for a UConn team to displace UNH at some future date in the tournament, making the Wildcats fly despite a higher seed.)   

    • Snipercohan23

      They don’t care about hockey.  What planet are you from?  There are six D2 schools that cannot play up in D1 or down in DIII is it really that difficult to grant a waiver to let them to play and categorize ice hockey a different sport with unique needs.  That is why they need somone who understands ice hockey because it is so complex yet anyone can pick up a ball and toss it.  It’s not like a hockey person could ever ruin basketball or football it runs itself.  You should be disappointed how idiotic the people are that are behind closed doors in the NCAA .

  • Rondo

    If the state of North Dakota were not such a wasteland, I’d be ticked….but you gotta feel for those losers up there.  

    • Phoney

      Why do you think their schools are as close to MN as they can get without actually leaving ND. Half the student body is Minnesotans who couldn’t get into MN.

      • Matt

        You’re an idiot. Fargo and Grand Forks are not on the border because it’s close to Minnesota, they’re on the border because there’s a river there. Notice how the largest portion of BOTH cities is on the North Dakota side. Maybe that says something about your state, huh?

    • Dave

      Feel for us because why? I can call people names, make stupid comments, generalize and sound like an idiot too, but it doesn’t contribute to the discussion.  Try thinking a bit more before you comment on a story.

    • UNDColorado

      Hey d!ckhead, 

      Where are you from…my guess is somewhere in minnesota and you are sitting around sulking and secretly wishing that your team was smart enough to make a move. Maybe your below average team will actually have a shot at making the tournement on a regular basis. Jealousy is a pungent odor you wimp.

      And as someone pointed out earlier; yeah we are awesome and all these negative comments provide legitimacy to my claim!

    • Joe C

      As an east-coast hockey fan (Go BU!), I do not find comments such as this to be appropriate. Please try looking objectively in the mirror and see if you can find flaws. I suspect you will have difficulty with such an assignment.

  • inserviceofherroyalmajestywife

    Just assume the NCAA has no cridibility. The Different Rules for Different schools approach. serve that body well. Who give a rats a** about the smaller schools. This would never have happened if the NCAA governing body (known as the SEC) had hockey.

  • Jason

    People.  The NCAA has been all about money for a long time.  All of college sports is business and has been for decades.  Heck, high school sports are big business now with schools having TV contacts and events being held on ESPN.

  • Sheps20

    I love the WCHA the way it is, but got to face this–The Big 10 is into hockey now and will have a big following.  The top 4 remaining programs in the WCHA have joined Miami, and no disrespect intended to Nebraska Omaha they are a very good team, but not the history of the other WCHA teams.  This will be a very good conference. 

  • Gary

    When I first read the news about the new Conferences I was disappointed  because it takes storied  conferneces in the WCHA and CCHA and throws them up against the walk and see what sticks.  You are right it is about the old mighty marketing dollar and the greed of it all like the republican party.  When the wall street hedge fund brokers (big 10 schools) from both leagues pull out for the “I’ve got mine the hell with the rest of you”.  It forces the remaining schools of the CCHA and WCHA to look at the landscape and reacess there future and the future of their leagues.  Could they have combined the remaining WCHA and CCHA programs into a “Super League”, perhaps but would it be the best thing for those remaining teams?  No!

    Like many other sports in the  Greedy NCAA it is all about the money face it, even though we don’t want to, its the facts.  There are those schools that feel they are being “left behind” and yes that is indeed the case. But before we start pointing fingers, blaming and trashing our respective Universities  Let’s look at what we’ve got. the big ten conference  6 schools  with school arenas ranging in size for 12,000 to 6,000 they have there own network the big 10 network so they are going to share revenue from that exposure.  you have the remaining larger seat arena’s in the CCHA and WCHA that also have seating for 11,000+, are they to say “well we’ll just stay in our little pond and not be able to compete with the “Hedge Fund” league in the big ten and let them make the revene for their schools so they can pay for the schollarship that it takes to have Division1 sports and screw the rest of College Hockey.  A group of universities said why should we let “them” have a big piece of the $$$ let’s get our share too. 

    Does this make me happy?  HELL NO! but what it does do is make for conference that can take some of the shine off of the big 10 schools or should I say 6 (snickers).
    We’ve all long wanted College Hockey to get more exposure after all it is a better sport than college hoops.  This may just do that  ECAC, HEA, big Ten, ect.  will get more TV exposure and will increase the mighty dollar to those leagues, What about the balance of the WCHA and CCHA?  I think they well do just fine thank you, and rest assured these school will do fine  While the big 10 may not play schedule home and home games with the smaller schools the other “Super League” will continue to play BSU, MSU, St.Cloud, Western Michigan, Northern Michigan, Bowling Green etc. Because they’ll remember where they came from small programs that grew up to have become Great Programs!   Let’s Play  HOCKEY!!!

    • Hockey

      Why will the Big 10 not schedule these teams but this new league will?  That is quite the assumption.  Both leagues will have teams that schedule other schools and it won’t be because they remember where they came from.

  • CCHA fan

    Rumor has it that ND and Western Michigan will be invited to the new league as well.

  • guest

    Wow now we’re really between a rock and a hard place, thank you Big 10 and “Super Conference”


    • Joe C

      Just come play in Hockey East and everything will be all right. You already play us in non-conference games. Also, we think you might recognize your friends at Providence College and Boston College. Maybe you could bring UConn with you and make it an Big East/America East reunion show.

      Lots of Notre Dame football fans here, too, plus good flights from Chicago to Boston. See you soon!

  • Theflyingscotsman48

    How about starting division two hockey once again ?

    • AJ

      I don’t think we could do it.  DIII struggles enough as it is to get players.  As hard as it is to admit, I’m a MTU faithful, and hockey is all this school has for sports.  Sure the community would keep the team alive, but it wouldn’t be anywhere close to the same.  We need DI.

    • Snipercohan23

      You would need like 25 teams to make it an emerging sport to possible be recognized by the NCAAZIS. 

  • hockey fan

    This is ridiculous over half the comments have nother to do with the topic. We get it everyone hates UND. I guess this is what it feels like to be the yankees. But seriously just my opinion if you can’t stick to the topic and have ADULT conversations on here the get the hell off the site. I personally don’t want to read through a bunch of useless comments. I don’t care which college your hating on I don’t really care to read it!

  • Btrettel

     To my fellow college hockey fans, I have tempered my thoughts in the dissolution of the WCHA has we know it. But it is time. This is so bad for college hockey. It will kill the little teams in college hockey, like St.Cloud, Bemidji, Western Michigan, and I can go down the line. What young hockey player is going to good to schools that will not have a strong “hockey schedule,” no one. Think about it, why would they. The NCAA steps into everything else in the big money sports (i.e. college football), they need to step in here. They need to keep a handful of Division I programs for turning back to Division III. It will not only hurt small colleges, but small college hockey towns. The NCAA can stop this….will they? Here the deal, add Miami (Ohio) to the WCHA, and you “big money teams” can have your “Super Conference.” Story Over, but, I’m sure, there will be more to come.

    • Anonymous

      Bemidji State, Washington DC, CHA. Ring any bells? How about RIT and their run to the Frozen Four in 2010?

      They weren’t playing in super conferences at the time, heck, the Beavers weren’t even facing much competition. Taking the big guns out of the mix could allow programs like Mankato and SCSU to thrive and make serious runs at Championship hardware. Anything can happen once April rolls around, and success in April means exposure when it comes time to start recruiting new skaters.

      Step back, take a deep breath, and assess the situation. It isn’t nearly as dire as you would have the world believe.

    • 5thYearFreshman

      Last I checked, if a recruit wants to play, he’ll go somewhere to play.  I’m guessing a kid who loves hockey would play at Michigan Tech rather than sit the bench 4 years at Michigan

      Otherwise how would Michigan Tech field a team?

  • AJ

    Whatever.  Let them go.  The new Great Lakes Hockey Association will show those arrogant fools what a true hockey school is.

  • Dtdc2

    Notre Dame, welcome to Hockey East. 

  • jmsptrk

    College hockey is going to be fine. Different teams will be in different conferences. And? So? It’s happened before. Michigan, Michigan State & Notre Dame ALL left the WCHA in 1981 to join the CCHA. And…. did college hockey fall apart then? No. In fact, I’d say we’ve had some pretty darn good college hockey since then, wouldn’t you? I’d say that the state of college hockey has never been better—judging by the quality of play and players, and all those being drafted and making immediate (and sometime very big) impacts in the NHL, are proof of that. In addition, the rivalries people were bemoaning they’d lose (when UM, MSU & ND left) have been replaced by others. (And other rivalries, like Minnesota–Michigan, still exists does it not?) Big Ten hockey is a great idea, with built-in history and natural rivals in the oldest Division I college athletic conference in the land. As for the other schools, even if I wished them to go away or suffer (and I don’t), they’ll be fine, and will develop other new rivalries (Hello, UND v Nebraska-Omaha!). And for those that might face a tougher hill to climb, they would have at some point anyway. And rivalries will still exist – if you think, for ONE SECOND, that somehow the Minnesota–North Dakota games will lose their fire, or their contentious nature, you’re either naive or flat out lying. Of course the landscape will change. But I don’t see it as a terrible thing. Change is inevitable. And some rivalries will be replaced by new ones, some will continue. I see nothing wrong with this. History is for relics, nostalgia and grandmothers. It’s time to move on old timer. This time you don’t have a choice.

  • Tb111960

    My problems is programs that many years ago helped bigger schools out are now tossed aside like they are nothing. In the late 70′s early 80″s the CCHA power was pretty much Michigan State and Bowling Green. BG is the longest serving member in the CCHA and was a founding member too.  BG had the first all American hockey player from the CCHA and went on to be the first CCHA team to win the National Championship as a CCHA team. That win put the CCHA on the map and gave it equality with the other leagues at the time. They have produced two Hobey Baker winners as well as Rob Blake, Kevin Bieksa George McPhee (Hobey Baker award winner and current GM of the Washington Capitals) and Dan Bylsma, current head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins that led them three years ago to win the Stanley Cup.

    They also were home to Mark Wells and Ken Morrow who both won Gold on the 1980 Olympic team with Morrow going on and winning four Stanley Cups with the Islanders in his first four years with them. That’s a lot of tradition to chuck aside without any thought. Yes they have been down, but what team hasn’t? They just last year fixed up the rink and hired a new coach to get things going in the right direction. I hope Miami remembers the days when they were just awful (not all that long ago) yet were let into the CCHA and were constantly embarrassed by BG and others. Notre Dame dropped hockey for about ten years when a CCHA member, then let back in when they decided to get back in to hockey. Schools worked together then to expand the sport, now it seems greed has taken over and that is not a good thing. It’s COLLEGE hockey, not the Pro’s.

    The next two season will be interesting to see where these self appointed great hockey programs end up in their current league standings.

  • Cgp_999

    This is all really disappointing. I am so sick of the little guy getting picked on all the time in every aspect of this world, now it’s college hockey too.

    Everyone is just after money now, no one wants to just play and keep tradition alive. I feel for all the small schools that will be hurt by this, BSU included. I hope that the WCHA and CCHA can stay afloat and really stick it to these other schools and steal bids and hopefully a few championships from them too. I think some of these bigger schools have seen that the gap between them and the small schools is closing and they needed to do something about it. They need to find a way to keep the little guy down and it is just sickening. I am sure if they had their way, they would make sure that only 20 teams in the country even played division one so they could keep it all to themselves. And I think UND is the most disappointing part of all of this. They have always seemed to help the little guy, were always there for BSU and now they are turning their backs on them. The name change, now the new conference. They are a bunch of sellouts. This whole thing is just really awful.

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