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College Hockey:
WCHA commissioner to meet with Alaska

A published report in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Monday states WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod will visit Alaska Tuesday to potentially discuss the Nanooks joining the league for the 2013-2014 season.

“I haven’t been up there for a long time … and I’m going to get a sense of the program commitment. They’ve been fairly aggressive up there,” McLeod said in an article last week in the St. Cloud Times. “I can understand why it’s best for those two (Alaska) schools, but I’m not sure I’m convinced it’s the best for everybody. They need to convince me why it’s best for the WCHA. I do understand why it would be good for them in a lot of ways. It might be good for us, too.

“It always gets back to do we worry about ourselves and get back to eight (WCHA) members or do we think of the greater good of college hockey? I think more than anything, we’re just trying to keep as nimble as we can possibly be. Gradually, we’ll get ourselves to making a decision.”


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  • Guest

    McLeod’s comments make it sound like he’s not interested in having UAF in the WCHA.  Not good.

  • Icefogger

    I’d like to think McLeod would come to Fairbanks with an open mind, but I agree his comments don’t look good.  

    • Joe C

      Would you prefer that Mr. McLeod not go visit with UAF? Would you prefer he say that he cannot wait for UAF to become part of the WCHA?

      I do not know much about Mr. McLeod, as I am a Hockey East fan. But, as an outside observer, his comments look like an open invitation to UAF to present its best case for joining WCHA. Given that UAA is already part of the WCHA, this means one program will benefit. Certainly, all the WCHA and CCHA teams have a plan for ONE Alaska team. It seems reasonable to add a second team and gain some efficiencies.

      As a fan of the QMJCL, I understand the implications of having schools apart and in hard-to-reach by bus/flight locations such as Rimouski and Royun-Noranda. The Q has smart scheduling where the outliers like R-N and Abitibi-Temiscaming are joined as part of one trip, two games at one city and one in the other over a four-day weekend or one and one. Teams travel via small prop planes just fine.

      In the end, as someone with no skin in the game other than the overall health of NCAA hockey, I am glad that the WCHA is proactively talking to UAF, even if it is just a courtesy visit.

  • afterlife

    This seems like the wise move, let UAF in.  The WCHA would have a solid conference, albeit not like the old.  Any talk of combining with the CCHA just dilutes the already overdiluted conference.  Why does the WCHA have to do the right thing in College Hockey when the teams in the NCHC obviously don’t care?  Be smart Bruce.   

    • JamesDee

      Do you really think we want to see teams like LSSU, FSU and Bowling Green folding because of the arrogrant Minnesota teams dont want to travel to Downstate Michigan or Ohio once in awile.

      The Nacho league did a good thing for college hockey and seperated the good and the bad. The good will play the good and the bad will play the bad. What is wrong with that, now teams can play teams at there competition level because of movement in hockey.

      Combining the WCHA/CCHA gives a bigger pool of teams for the smaller teams to play each other.

      If they dont combine who in the heck is going to travel to Soo, Big Rapids or Bowling Green for NC games. Not many teams. So please it is up to the WCHA to save these storied programs from folding.

      • Ebergsven

        The NCHC did a good thing? That is a ridiculous statement. Good teams from bad teams? Well I guess every sport should start doing that, we don’t want upsets in sports or anything, that would just make sense right? Those “Bad teams” play “Good Teams” so that in the long run, those “Bad Teams” gain experience and gain good recruits so that they don’t “suck” so bad anymore. If it’s up to the WCHA to save the rest of the “Bad Teams”, that is a load of crap. The NCHC teams are just hungry for T.V. ratings. Those teams proved the point that college hockey is moving from a true game to a marketing scheme. I hope What ever teams play the NCHC division upset them every night. WHCA has been a long running tradition of hockey excellence, and no matter what teams are in or out, I really hope that tradition continues and they upset all those “Good Teams” in the tournament.

      • Joe C

        As a Hockey East alum, I would be horrified to split off schools some might not consider to be the Big Four/Big Five. I thoroughly enjoyed Merrimack’s revival last year and UMass/Lowell’s the year before. That is part of what makes Hockey East a very interesting league. Far better for a team like the Merrimack Warriors to earn and appreciate their NCAA bid than have a separate league.

        NCAA Hockey is better with more programs and larger leagues. In my opinion, BTHC being a small number of teams, even for a couple of decades, is worth it from a national branding perspective. But to think that some programs down on their luck are worth jettisoning is short-sighted and mean-spirited. Dumping programs with history should not be a desired goal.

        I hope that my fellow HE alum desire good things for all the programs. I look forward to the time when the Friars are relevant again. Even I would never wish that BC would fold, just that they would always lose to BU.

  • Lennyak1

    Being a Hockey East fan, but having lived in Alaska since 1975 I think it would be great to have UAA & UAF in the WCHA.  As someone mentioned above there would be efficiencies with Outside teams traveling to Alaska and staying to play each team on consecutive weekends.  Joining the WCHA would be a win-win for all.

  • JameDee

    I dont know why Mr Mcleod is so intent of having only 8 teams. Dont they have twelve teams right now. I think by having 10 to 12 teams gives the league a lot of flexibility in scheduling league games.

    So taking CCHA teams is the best for college hockey for the “Big Picture” of college hockey. Good name brand league (WCHA) combined with storied college hockey teams only makes the WCHA history look good with new teams looking to make the next leap to the NACHo league.

  • JameDee

    I dont know why Mr Mcleod is so intent of having only 8 teams. Dont they have twelve teams right now. I think by having 10 to 12 teams gives the league a lot of flexibility in scheduling league games.

    So taking CCHA teams is the best for college hockey for the “Big Picture” of college hockey. Good name brand league (WCHA) combined with storied college hockey teams only makes the WCHA history look good with new teams looking to make the next leap to the NACHo league.

  • RamboWildcat

    Who in their right mind wants to travel to Alaska in the middle of winter TWICE.  If this were a summer sport, heck yes!  It would be fantastic to go to Alaska twice. 

    • Yooper

      The Fairbanks newspaper has a great article recently published about the WCHA commissioners visit.  I think it looks good for Alaska. 
        Why would anyone have to go to Alaska twice?  Bemidji, NMU etc. could go to Fairbanks for one series and then have Anchorage visit them for another. Then the following year they would travel to Anchorage and Fairbanks would visit them at home.  They play each AK team a two game series every year and only travel once per year to AK.   Am I making sense? 

    • Yooper

      The Fairbanks newspaper has a great article recently published about the WCHA commissioners visit.  I think it looks good for Alaska. 
        Why would anyone have to go to Alaska twice?  Bemidji, NMU etc. could go to Fairbanks for one series and then have Anchorage visit them for another. Then the following year they would travel to Anchorage and Fairbanks would visit them at home.  They play each AK team a two game series every year and only travel once per year to AK.   Am I making sense? 

  • JamesDee

    The ten team WCHA will be a great for scheduling for the teams. I believe the small schools from the midwest will have a hard enough time scheduling games as it is, so a merger of the WCHA/CCHA will only prevent teams from folding ie Bowling Green, LSSU, FSU, and UAH.

  • guest

        Yooper has just described a program where, if they were in an 8-team WCHA, the Alaska schools would play a 16 game schedule, while other six teams would probably play a 24 game schedule,  This would never do.
        It would also be considered a problem if the six teams each stayed in Alaska for a full week, while playing at Fairbanks one weekend and Anchorage the other weekend. The team members are student-athletes, not professionals.  They shouldn’t be taking a full week away from attending classes and doing classwork.
        Assuming there is an 8 team league with two teams in Alaska,on a 28 game schedule, perhaps the six teams could each schedule to play, e.g., Fairbanks on a Wednesday, then Anchorage on Friday and Saturday.  This would give the visiting team 3 games to play within four days–which is more playing than usual, but still doable, as it would only be a once-a-year event.  The extra game would be played as the Alaska team’s road game. This would give the Alaska teams 11 home games and 17 road games, and the other six teams 15 home games and 13 road games. It’s not ideal, but there are always trade-offs in something like this.
      Yes, it would be difficult to get all the other teams to be willing to take 2 weekend trips to Alaska. 

  • HuskyHauler

    This works out great if Alaska joins! Teams could go up and play each team once or use Yooper’s idea.

  • Guest

    Those buffoons in the NCHC really screwed this up. With the Big Ten teams gone, it would have been perfect for the WCHA to add Alaska and UAF and then create West and East divisions to reduce travel expenses. AA, AFB, CC, DU, UAF and NO in the West. BS, MS, UMD, ND, SCS and MTU in the East. Sheesh… 

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