College Hockey:
CCHA set for ‘exploratory’ Tuesday meeting with 4 Atlantic Hockey teams

The next front in college hockey realignment could involve Atlantic Hockey, and four of its schools are scheduled to meet with the CCHA.

Representatives from Canisius, Mercyhurst, Niagara and Robert Morris will meet with CCHA officials on Tuesday for what CCHA commissioner Fred Pletsch called “exploratory discussions.”

That meeting will take place in Erie, Pa., a source said.

The 11-team CCHA could lose the greatest percentage of its teams of any conference in the realignment scheduled for the 2013 offseason. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are headed to the Big Ten; Miami will join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference; and Northern Michigan is moving back to the WCHA.

Notre Dame and Western Michigan are testing the waters for a move out of the CCHA, and speculation has linked Alaska to a possible move to the WCHA.

If any of Notre Dame, Western Michigan or Alaska left the CCHA, the league would drop under the six-team minimum to maintain an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The meeting between the CCHA and the four schools was first reported by College Hockey News.

Pletsch said recently that his first priority was to “maintain the solvency of the CCHA brand.”

A move to the CCHA would give the four schools the opportunity to award the full 18 scholarships allowed under NCAA rules. Atlantic Hockey limits schools to 12 scholarships.

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  • Inuiyak

    Both Alaska teams in one conference would be fantastic for Alaska.  Teams wouldn’t have to play both colleges in AK, but fly up once and get a home game once (plus two extra and the AK college paying their way).  It’s a win win.

  • Joe C

    The idea that Notre Dame would remain in the CCHA after every other major school left and hope that there would always be five other viable programs in CCHA to ensure the NCAA autobid is laughable. Notre Dame is a BTHC/HE/NCHC caliber program and we all know that BTHC is not in the cards for the Irish.

    Notre Dame will be going east to Hockey East or joining the NCHC. In a pinch, it would join the WCHA, which apparently is the winner of the first rounds of musical chairs with CCHA. One wonders if the remaining CCHA schools might push to join WCHA, join AHA, have CCHA and WCHA merge or have CCHA and AHA merge. There simply are not enough programs remaining after BTHC and NCHC to warrant three conferences.

    I do know that Hockey East, ECAC, BTHC and NCHC are all coming through this realignment without a scratch. WCHA took a big hit but regrouped and should be fine. WCHA is in a position of strength, where it can add programs from CCHA if both the WCHA and the program desire it. This means Notre Dame, Western Michigan and Alaska. It can also mean any other team “left out” right now.

     AHA might take a hit but has enough teams to survive. CCHA remains on life-support. I have more hope for the remaining CCHA programs to survive than I do having CCHA survive without a merger.

    Unfortunately for the WCHA and CCHA, the presence of Big 10 schools was a great benefit for many years and now has become the thing that caused the change.

  • Nomosfd

    The CCHA won 9 NCAA Championships and were 5 time NCAA Runner Up in the past 27 seasons.  RIP CCHA, it was fun.

  • brian

    It’s a shame the CCHA has been passive in all the reshuffling.  I realize geography isn’t working in its favor, but to lose Northern, Miami, ND, and WMU and replace them with eastern schools that lack tradition and prowess is a tough pill to swallow for the players, coaches, and fans of the remaining teams… Ferris, Lake State, and BG.  I would much rather see the new National conference take these three teams in and form two divisions, an east and a west.  Obviously these three teams don’t stack up to North Dakota, Denver, or Duluth, but they certainly do with Omaha, or for that matter Western Mich., if they are to join.  Heck, Lake St. has won three titles, BG has won two, and Ferris has been the best of these three programs over the last ten years, taking down many of big name teams regularly, be it Miami, Michigan, Ohio St., etc.  They would bring a nice balance to this new National conference, and in so doing, would insure the long term survival of three programs that have been long time contributors to high level college hockey.

  • Guest

    The fact that the CCHA is even discussing the situation with the 4 Atlantic Hockey teams makes one point very clear to me, Notre Dame is just waiting to announce…they are gone.

  • yooper

    UAH should be included in the discussion about new additions to the CCHA.

  • Guest

    Big Ten Hockey should just go ahead and add Notre Dame.  they’re a great fit both geographically and sports-wise.  if it weren’t for ND’s NBC football contract they’d probably have been in the Big Ten years ago.

    • guest

      Its not just that.  Way back ND tried to get into the B1g Ten, but were rejected.  Also ND’s image and mission are not in line with the B1g Ten; its a Catholic school (that genuinely cares about its Catholic image), not a monster state university like the rest of the B1g Ten.  ND is known as an undergrad-centric school whereas the B1g Ten is all about cranking out undergrads and lavishly funding research

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AWUWXDKNATZUSY7MZ3ZCBASABM David

        The undergrad vs. research thing is a little overblown to me.

        The Big Ten has the strongest reputation for academics of all the conferences, which is why ND even listens to what they have to say each time the Big Ten comes calling.

        • hockeyfan

          call me crazy, but I believe the ecac has the strongest reputation for academics of all the conferences.

          • AfterFurtherReview

            Crazy… 100% agree, ECAC definitely has the academic reputation wrapped up!

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AWUWXDKNATZUSY7MZ3ZCBASABM David

            I’m talking about all-sports IA conferences, since that is what this particular discussion is about when it comes to ND and football.

          • Joe C

            I would put the Ivy portion of the ECAC up against ANY D-I conference for top to bottom academics. Any league with Harvard and Yale does not need to list the merits of its other teams, which are also extremely developed and respected. All of the Ivies are D-I.

            This is coming from a “safety school” alum from BU. Harvard and Yale are the best academic schools playing D-I hockey. Not that this has translated to NCAA titles since 1987.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AWUWXDKNATZUSY7MZ3ZCBASABM David

            Again, my comment was only about all-sports Division 1A conferences, since that is what Notre Dame’s football team is.  That particular thread from “Guest” was not about Hockey conferences, nor about Division 1AA conferences (the Ivy League).  It was referencing whether or not ND would fit in the all-sports Division 1A Big Ten.  Not hockey only.

          • Sean

            The Big Ten is a good conference academically, but hardly “the strongest reputation”. 

            The problem with making  sweeping statement like that is that it presumes enormous physical size and state sponsorship automatically equal “great university”. 

            I would venture to say, conservatively,  that 95% of the students at Big Ten universities never get a sniff of the excellent research facilities or “star” professors there.  For the vast majority of students, it really does come down the “diploma factory” experience. 

            You can brag about  the relatively small number of outliers who inhabit the Big Ten campi, but we hardly hear about the thousands of “happy-to-be-here at home state U” students who make up the bulk of the numbers

            Your supposition also excludes the service academies, which are clearly the hardest schools to get into, probably the most academically rigorous and demanding schools, and best at preparing their students for life after graduation.   

            Taken as a whole, top to bottom, the service academies are the most prestigious, rigorous, well-endowed and effective of universities in America in the FBS category.    


  • Tb111960

    All this change due to a team that hasn’t played a game or even held a practice yet. People, we are witnessing stupidity at it’s finest. I keep hearing about how the Big Ten teams are motivated by TV revenue. I’m sorry, but I think those schools already get revenue from the Big Ten Channel, maybe I’m wrong. So how much more does the Big Ten expect to get from hockey? Won’t what ever they get be split up equally between the 12 schools? So I’m not buying the TV excuse. So they wanted their own conference? That I am sure of. Not really sure why as now they most likely will get fewer teams into the NCAA tournament as they will beat each other up, eventually when Penn State gets going. But it also doesn’t necessarily mean they will be a better conference, there are only six teams. If memory serves, only Michigan got into the NCAA tournament this past year out of  the current 5 Big Ten schools.

    However, I believe Miami may have made the biggest mistake as they now will have to fly to virtually every away game and they have a tight budget that may eventually catch up to them. I believe if the CCHA stays around you will see them returning eventually.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AWUWXDKNATZUSY7MZ3ZCBASABM David

      to Tb111960
      The Big Ten sponsoring hockey is definitely about TV revenue.  The ratings for hockey on the BTN are going to be miles beyond the random “shows” they have on now.  More ratings = large charge to advertisers.
      Secondary reason is more butts in the seats.  The core fans are good with the CCHA and WCHA rivals, but having more Big Ten teams in town for games will draw more generic alumni to those large venues of WI and OH ST and help fill the stands at PA ST.

      In the end, it’s hard to rip on a sports league choosing to sponsor sports that their members play.  That’s their job.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YDASXKRKHA676LUC6DT6CXL7CU Big Pimpin

    What the hell is “woofing”?

  • Mtf3963

    As a student at RIT, I’ve seen my fair share of Atlantic hockey.  Besides RMU or Niagara (still a stretch) I can’t see any of those AHA teams doing well.  Canisius and Mercyhurst finished 8th and 7th respectively in a 12 team conference that honestly can’t quite stack to the rest of NCAA hockey.  Why they would want to go to a conference where the travel and competition would double is beyond me.

    Air Force on the other hand is located in Colorado and is much stronger.  Perhaps they should consider relocation.  Or do they have to compete with Army?

    • 7&7

      They want to leave so they can offer more scholarships, this would make them more competitive.

      Air Force must compete with Army, it is the only reason they joined AHA

  • Habsfan19

    Want to really throw a log on the fire.  There will not be4 much left of the Atlantic,  so why not merger them with the ECAC, and take some of the Eastern ECAc such as Darmouth, Yale, Harvard and RPI, and put them in Hockey East.

    • Joe C

      Dartmouth, Yale and Harvard will not be moving anywhere except to a new Ivy League conference. They have specific restrictions on the number of games they play and when the games can be scheduled. These restrictions run completely against the Hockey East schedule.

      In fact, the reason Hockey East was formed was in response to the Ivies threatening to leave ECAC and form their own league in the earlier 80s.

      If the Ivies ever left, you could see the ECAC and AHA merge, since the geography and scheduling does work out fairly well. If the Ivies stay, ECAC does not have a worry in the world. They have a league that works just fine for its members and produces tournament teams.

  • Geo/Political/Econ

    Well with MSU Moorhead coming in its an even 60, how about 10 6 team leagues, Ivy, Big 10, WCHA(6 no NMU), NCHC, CCHA(6), a revival of CHA(didn’t know where to UAH!?), AHA(6), the non Ivy ECAC, HE top 5 w/Notre Dame, HE also rans plus UConn.
    Cornell, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Harvard, Brown
    RPI, Colgate, Union, Clarkson, St Lawrence, Quinnipiac
    ND, BU, BC, Maine, UNH, Northeastern
    UMass, UConn, UML, Merrimack, Providence, Vermont
    CC, Denver, Miami, UNO, NoDak, UMD
    AIU, Sacred Heart, Bentley, Holy Cross, Army, Air Force
    UAA, SCSU, MTU, MSU, BSU, MSU-Moorhead
    NMU, LSSU, FSU, WMU, Alaska, BGSU
    Canisius, RIT, Niagara, RMU, Mercyhurst, UAH

    Yes I am a geography nerd.

    • yooper

      If your geographical, why do you separate the two Alaska teams and why is AF playing in the east?  NMU is going to be a part of the WCHA no matter how many emails and blogs we send. Its a DONE DEAL!  How do we know MSU Moorhead will be a DI member?  They have no team yet and they can’t just create a D1 team  overnight.  If they do create one, then the new team should pay it’s dues just like Bemidji did, before it joins a strong regional conference.  UAH has played tougher than the CHA level and should not be so relegated.

      • It’s Da Yoopers!

        Take it easy second week of deer camp, I was just doing an excerise mirroring the trend of small leagues being set by the B10 and NCHC, while also keeping in mind somewhat the exisiting leagues the rest of the teams are still in. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AWUWXDKNATZUSY7MZ3ZCBASABM David

      6 teams is too close to the auto-bid edge for most leagues.  I say, at best, 6 leagues of 8 with the rock-solid Big Ten and Ivy at 6.

      B10:  OSU, MSU, PSU, WI, MI, MN
      IVY:  Cornell, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Harvard, Brown
      ECAC:  RPI, Colgate, Union, Clarkson, St Lawrence, Quinnipiac, Merrimack, Providence
      HE:  BU, BC, Maine, UNH, Northeastern, UMass, UML, Vermont
      NCHC:  CC, Denver, Miami, UNO, NoDak, UMD, ND, WMU
      AHA:  AIU, Sacred Heart, Bentley, Holy Cross, Army, Air Force, RIT, UConn
      WCHA:  UAA, SCSU, MTU, MSU, BSU, MSU-Moorhead, NMU, Alaska
      CCHA:  LSSU, FSU, BGSU, Canisius, Niagara, RMU, Mercyhurst, UAH

  • RamboWildcat

    I’d be more worried about this NCAC league…..UNO is weak, UMD very inconsistent, CC and DU solid, but very small schools in markets that aren’t exactly fan-frenzied.  I was in downtown Denver once when they were playing for the national title, and had a heck of a time finding a bar which had the game on!  It was all golf and weightlifting…unreal.  Miami is super tiny too with not much of a traveling fan base or media market.  They BETTER NOT come crawling back to the WCHA in 5 to 7 years!!

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