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College Hockey:
CCHA, WCHA talking merger?

According to a published report in the Sentinel-Tribune, discussions regarding a merger of the CCHA and WCHA were held this past Tuesday in Chicago.

Representatives of the two leagues met for “exploratory talks” about a merged 10-team league, CCHA commissioner Fred Pletsch told the publication. Pletsch said the league commissioners will go back to their respective athletic directors to determine if further talks will take place.

The 11-team CCHA has lost five members in the last five months during realignment for 2013, while the 12-team WCHA has lost seven members during the same span.

Most likely, according to the article, a merged league from the CCHA and the WCHA would consist of Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State and Alaska of the CCHA and Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State, Northern Michigan and St. Cloud State.

Northern Michigan recently left the CCHA for the WCHA, also effective after the 2012-13 season.

The other remaining CCHA schools are Notre Dame and Western Michigan, but Notre Dame is not expected to remain in the CCHA once all of the realignment is complete. The school is reportedly considering playing as an independent.

Notre Dame will inform the CCHA of its decision at the league’s annual summer meetings Aug. 15-16 in Dearborn, Mich.

“In our conversations with Notre Dame, they have been waiting for some television information,” WMU AD Kathy Beauregard told the Kalamazoo Gazette about ND’s decision.

The NCHC currently has six teams and is expected to expand to eight.

WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod is going to visit Fairbanks later this month to learn more about the school and its hockey program, the (Fairbanks) Daily News-Miner reported.


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  • Puckerup

    Notre Dame reportedly considering playing as an independent? Um, what?!

    • Joe C

      Notre Dame is reportedly attempting to play NCHC and Hockey East off one another for the best deal is the proper interpretation of this news.

  • Joe C

    Merger is the only way CCHA will survive. The lack of any progress with the four AHA programs was a clear sign. I am sorry to see realignment come to this, but better a merger than a reapt of CHA to the storied CCHA.

    • JamesDee

      Please dont make the CCHA into another CHA.

      • Joe C

        BTHC and NCHC have already done that, all by themselves. Just like BU and Northeastern no longer have football programs, based on economics, attendance and Title IX. In the end, BU and Northeastern decided they were hockey schools, building Agganis and revamping Matthews.

        I hope the remaining CCHA schools can find a home and keep their programs going, but staying in the CCHA will not cut it. I do not see them finding enough new schools to join. 

  • Rambo Wildcat

    Who the heck does Western think they are???  With all due respect to this fine institution, they have been mediocre at best in hockey.  Their facility is very modest for a big MAC school too.  As of today, they are a smaller market program than LSSU and NMU, etc…  

    • cis

      Western saw how much buzz the hockey team got last season with alumni and finally realize they have a chance to make a mark as an elite hockey program.  Basically, it’s either sneak into the NCHC or hope to dominate the CCHA.  The latter will make recruiting much more difficult so the school is throwing everything they can at this.

      • Heaton

        There is absolutely no way they are going to be able to compete day in and day out in the NCHC…   Recruiting is only going to be tougher and I really cant see them fit in.  I could be wrong?  I hope im wrong because I love to see the smaller schools thrive!

    • Kuhnandfriends

      WRONG!…also they are building a brand new arena that is rumored to be 5-7,000 seats downtown…even in the mediocre Culhane era they still would fill the house and have one of the most rabid student fan bases in all of college hockey

      • Yooper

        Rambo Wildcat is not wrong.  I’ll ask the same question.  Just who does WMU
        think they are?  A new arena will create no wins on the ice.  Of course a new arena as you described it will enhance the accomodations of visiting and perhaps more elite rivals and will make WMU feel more at home in the league
        (NCHC that WMU apparently hopes for).  However, let’s get real here. WMU does not belong with North Dakota or Denver or CC etc. Not by a long shot.
          It’s the coaching that makes the difference and WMU hasn’t shown they’ve had it before or have it now.  Let’s examine some records of similar schools:
        In the last ten years: WMU is 142-197-47, while LSSU was 117-195-59.
        Both pretty dismal.  However, in LSSU’s case, in prior years when under Jackson, they were averaging a winning percentage of .700 for many years running. They had seven or eight strait NCAA appearances.  Now he’s doing that at Notre Dame. It’s all coaching!!
          Lets examine FSU and NMU:   FSU was 174-173-43 and NMU was
        202-165-43.  Both of these teams had one NCAA appearance in that 10 year span as did WMU last year.  But look at the difference in the overall records
        of FSU/NMU as compared to WMU. 
         I think that the NCHC, if they are pursuing an elite conference to compete with the Big Ten, they would be wise to ignore Western Michigan.  For the sake
        of preserving the good (but not the greatest) programs of the remaining CCHA
        teams, WMU should stay put.  This will increase the likelyhood of a sensible
        merger of WCHA/CCHA with the eastern half encompassing UAF,LSSU,FSU,
        WMU, BGU, and UAH.   
           I realize we are all partisan and have egos in our hockey loyaltys, and I really think WMU plays as tough as anyone on the ice. But, one 19-13 season and a
        new arena doesn’t qualify,  sorry.

  • guest

    This will be a needed move.  AHA teams there still isn’t a big name.  WMU getting an invite from the NCHC is still an improvement over who is left in the CCHA.  Travel costs will be high in any conference we should at least try to be in a competitive conference with at-large bids.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YJCYMXJ27RENTZL47JMYUP4ISU inuiyak

    Once again, UAH is left out in the cold.

    • JamesDee

      Why cant UAH join the merger of WCHA/CCHA?

      • Yooper

        I don’t see any reason for UAH not to be a CCHA member.  I don’t believe the new WCHA is considering them, but the CCHA (who turned UAH down recently) should take another vote.  We all know the big ten teams carried a
        lot of clout in that decision.  Well now, MSU, UM, and OSU will be gone. Also NMU, ND, MIami, and perhaps WMU and all their votes as well.   Unless LSSU, BGSU, and FSU and Fairbanks wish to join UAH as an independent, they would do well to consider adding UAH and perhaps a team or two from the east.  I know that the arena at UAH is twice the capacity of these other schools and the enrollment at UAH is also compatible.  UAH is also not exactly a new program.  Travel costs was just an excuse in their earlier denial. They just didn’t want to do the travel.  They had no difficulty going to Nebraska and now they won’t have to go there.  There may be a merger yet, with the WCHA/CCHA. But in any scenario UAH should not be  left out.  At one time in their past, all of these CCHA schools began a new program and were anxiously seeking a league to join. They should remember that.     Hang in there guys.

  • ROBOplayer

    Western has had one good season and thinks it is a power house of the future.Does that mean if FSU had won the overtime and gone to the Joe they would push for a new conference.You had one good season and have lost your coach. Stay where you are and see if you are a one hit wonder or you are for real.

    • Nieckolai

      Same with Duluth, they trapped lightning in a bottle this past year. They are not a powerhouse. 

      • Tdkreager

        I agree that they have not been as consistent as other schools, but they do fit the profile for their new conference. They do and will attract talent. Their backyard is a garden of talent, and they are committed to building success in their great tradition. This tradition may not be evident to other large market areas, but it is to someone like me, a 46 year old kid who used to live for games at the DECC.

    • ftb712

      Why all the love for UAH? They haven’t had a winning season since
      2005-06 and they have been 40-105-17 since then.  They were 4-26-2 last
      year.  Yet I keep seeing people writing about why they should be
      included in any new league that forms.  Really? 

      If you are looking to add team to the CCHA or the WCHA or to a newly
      formed league that merges the two, then I think the only viable options
      are Niagara University or RIT.  Consistently competitive programs with
      good fan bases and decent arenas.  Niagara is ready for expansion to get
      up to 4000 seats. RIT made the Frozen Four two seasons ago.  Both
      schools seem committed to hockey.

  • UWDAWG

    Yes, Western is a joke. A quick look at their website (for the last 7 years that are provided) shows them with a pathetic 5 wins 10 losses 1 tie against seemingly CCHA stepchild BG. Ponder that NCHC. Whoopee!

    • Collegehockey

      BG is on the verge of losing its hockey program.  Not sure why there is so much animosity towards WMU.  There is a very good reason that the NCHC is looking at them, and the CCHA wants to keep them….money.  WMU is one of the larger schools in the current CCHA, which means more students, more fans, and more money.  They are Div 1 in all sports, they have football and basketball programs that have played in tournaments & bowl games in recent years.  All that draws interest/revenue.
       I’m not knocking the other schools left in the CCHA, I hate the big ten for ripping it apart.  But this is looking more like a situation were the larger schools are going to benefit and the smaller schools lose.  FSU, NMU, LSSU are all great small hockey schools and I want them to stay around and be successful.  But I believe they will only be around if the CCHA can stay afloat.

      PS:  I have no idea what they are doing in Bowling Green, they have a national championship and its a shame.  I have heard LSSU may be in the same boat.

      • JamesDee

        Why wouldnt the WCHA want Bowling Greens one National Championship and LSSUs three National Championships?

        These storied programs belong in the WCHA.

      • JamesDee

        If  Bowling Green and Ferris have to combine with the AHA teams. Please dont call the league CCHA. It should be a rejuvinated CHA. Look what happen to the previous CHA teams folded and changed confrences. No stability in a CCHA/CHA league. Let the CCHA merge and remember it as a Michigan based league.

        A WCHA/CCHA merger is the best for college hockey. Brand name and many storied small schools with National Championships in there back pockets and a MacGnaughton Cup as the prize for the small college programs in the best league  in the country.

  • JamesDee

    A WCHA/CCHA merger seems to be the better route than CCHA/AHA merger.

    The WCHA is a good brand name with a long storied history. Also, teams wouldnt have to travel to Alaska twice to play both teams with ten teams.

    Plus with ten teams the small schools wont have to worry about scheduling games as much.

  • Fan

    Wow!   thats all the fans that were there?   The Xcel (WCHA) tourney was packed…   No wonder the CCHA is going to merge into the WCHA.

    • guest

      It had to have been packed with Beminji, Minn St, and St. Cloud State fans right?  I’m sure North Dakota’s large fan base had nothing to do with it.

    • JameDee

      The  Xcel (WCHA) tourney will stay in St Paul. It doesnt matter who shows up  in St Paul weather it is Bowling Green, UAA, LSSU, MTU or NMU.

      Fans in Minnesota will show up in St Paul because they love college hockey.

      A WCHA/CCHA merger will save college hockey teams.  

  • suesux

    The WCHA does not want a merger with the CCHA.  If they get Alaska, they will have a good base of teams with the focus in Minnesota.  Adding more teams from the old CCHA will increase travel cost and make road trips a little to far for most thus lowering revenue for your home games.   Don’t even want to talk about how pitiful the tournament would be especially since the CCHA’ers would demand it either be rotated out east or played at home of the reg season champ.  Who from MN would travel 800+ miles for a weak tournament? WCHA should take one more and run.  Let the rest merge with the AHA or something.

    • JameDee

      The Minnesota schools are only looking out for themselves if they dont accept teams like Bowling Green, Ferris, and LSSU.

      Mankato, Bemdji and St Cloud dont have the history like Bowling Green, Ferris and LSSU. Also, add four national championships that Kato, Bemdji and St Cloud can only dream of.

      So please dont let storied programs die in the dust. I am glad MTU will have major input on who gets added to the WCHA.

        LSSU, Ferris and Bowling Green should be accepted in the WCHA.

      This will make it easy for scheduling for the small market teams.

      Another CHA will not work for college hockey. So please CCHA disappear instead of adding salt to a cut.

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