College Hockey:
Officiating, operations background help Novak get NCHC hockey operations post

Joe Novak could hardly contain his excitement this February while he read the job advertisement for the director of hockey operations at the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

“As I read the description I saw it was a perfect fit,” he said. “I jumped on it right away. This position is both a great challenge and a great opportunity and, with so much to do, I look forward to working closely with the conference athletic directors and coaches and to getting to work.”

National Collegiate Hockey Conference director of hockey operations Joe Novak. (Air Force Athletics)

Joe Novak has been an administrator in the Air Force athletic department for the last 15 years (photo: Air Force Athletics).

Commissioner Jim Scherr and the search committee that provided the commissioner with a list of three finalists out of the 160-plus applicants, saw Novak as a perfect fit as well. Of those applicants, about 20 were discussed, and 12 were vetted before a final three emerged, said Colorado College athletic director Ken Ralph, who served on the

The hire of the veteran sports management executive, currently an Air Force assistant athletic director, USA Hockey supervisor of officials and NHL off-ice official, was announced on Tuesday.

“It’s a great hire by them,” said Air Force coach Frank Serratore. “Joe is going to go in and do a great job setting up the league. He has the passion, connections in the hockey community and knowledge to excel in that position. It is a huge loss [for the academy] but Joe has done a good job preparing whoever his successor will be.”

Novak will be responsible for the internal hockey operations and administration of the Division I conference, which begins play in October 2013. Among his immediate tasks will be developing a comprehensive league schedule; implementing a system for overseeing on-ice officials; developing and implementing league rules, playing standards, statistical programs and a discipline program; and serving as the hockey operations liaison with coaches and others in the hockey community.

“Joe’s officiating and operations background really set him apart,” Ralph said. “He just had the background that best fit the job the league needed filled.”

Novak, a Colorado Springs resident, has more than 30 years of experience in sports management, the last 15 of them with Division I Air Force, including roles in athletic operations, events management and scheduling, athletic facilities management, contract management, and tournament and special events direction.

He also has worked as an on-ice official, and as an off-ice official at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics; game operations manager for the Torino 2006 Olympic Committee/International Ice Hockey Federation; and managing athletic programs for the New York Military Army Command at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the United States Army Europe Headquarters/Heidelberg Military Community in Germany.

“Being able to bring to the conference a proven and imaginative executive with outstanding hockey credentials like Joe to serve as our director of hockey operations is tremendous for our members and for me personally,” Scherr said in a news release. “The conference’s inaugural season begins in about 18 months and there are many tasks to complete in advance of dropping the first puck. I will be relying on Joe to ensure that everything relating to hockey operations will be the best in intercollegiate athletics.”

Novak said he will begin working part-time for the NCHC on May 15 while fulfilling his contract with the academy, which ends July 1. He begins work full-time for the league on July 15. He has not been involved with the league’s search for a postseason venue, which is being negotiated by Scherr.

Novak’s officiating background makes him a good hire, said Colorado College coach Scott Owens.

“From a coach’s perspective, officiating is a huge part of the game,” he said. “Joe’s background and his contacts will help the league a lot in that way.”

Novak’s enthusiasm for the job was apparent, even in a telephone interview. He first heard some details about the job from Ralph before the Air Force-CC game in late December. He was interested and once he saw the ad, he was hooked.

“Getting this job is a culmination of all the work I have done up to this moment in a sport I love,” he said. “I have known and respected Jim Scherr since I first met when he was with the [United States Olympic Committee]. The quality of the people involved, the coaches and the programs make this a great position to step into. I am very fortunate to leave one great job for another that allows me to focus on college hockey, a sport I love. How can you beat that?”

The league was formed in July 2011 by six founding members: Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, and North Dakota. St. Cloud State and Western Michigan joined on Sept. 22.

The recent conference realignments started with the announcement of Penn State’s new Division I program, which prompted the other Big Ten schools to form a six-team conference that starts play in 2013. The Big Ten has since signed a postseason tournament deal rotating the site between the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., and Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.

That league will include Penn State and current CCHA schools Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State and WCHA members Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Those schools’ departure and concern over losing ground in recruiting and prestige prompted the original six members to form the NCHC in Colorado Springs, where the league is headquartered in the Copper Building near the Broadmoor Hotel.

After Notre Dame left the CCHA for Hockey East, the remaining members of the WCHA absorbed the depleted CCHA, which will cease operations after the 2012-13 season.

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  • Yooperhockey

    The hiring of Novak is two big announcements, give me a break.

    This league the NCHC is going to fold before they get off the ground.

    I suppose the other announcement was supposed to be about the location of the tourney.

    Also I think you have to be from Colorado Springs to work for the NCHC. The Not College Hockey Conference is two for two in hiring people from the Springs.

    I wonder how much input people from Oxford, Kalmazoo, and Duluth will have input into the league. None. These three teams will/are nonexistent in the NCHC and will be calling the New WCHA for admittance soon.

    I see western bias happening. This league is developed because some schools think they are superior to others in reallity they are all the same.

    The NCHC has no traditions, trophies, and no history.

    It is like trying to sell a new Coke well selling the original coke.

    The WCHA is original and the NCHC is not.

    • B.D.

       You make the statment ”This league the NCHC is going to fold before they get off the ground.”  Please prove this using logic.You seem to be making the assessment that fans are more driven by the leagues than the teams itself which you will find a problematic sell to the average hockey fan.After all, I have no “WCHA” jerseys, or anything else with the WCHA logo in fact.  I do have quite a selection of UND Sioux products, many going back a significant number of years.Reference your comment that the NCHC is/was developed based on the fact that some schools think they are superior to other while in reality they are all the same.  This is provably false.  It would be extremely difficult to compare a typical program in the NCHC to what will make the up the remnants left in the WCHA.After all, while I like the Bemidji State program, it cannot and will not compare to UND in its ability to draw crowds and raise the level of play to a premium level.  I wish them well and hope UND plays them each year just to keep in touch.Likewise, compare Michigan Tech to UND.  You will not see crowds in Houghton approaching 12,000 fans to watch those games.  And the crowds you do see there are heavily spiked  with the UND logo.  There is nothing the same regarding these programs other than the numbers of players allowed on the ice. Regarding your fixation on a historical basis on the league.  Sure, there is no historical basis, but there will be.  History is always being made my freind.And I do not care if the NCHC is headquartered in C-Springs.  C-Springs is a very nice town that I have to go to twice a year for conferences.  Could be worse. 

      • WCHA Fan

        Bemidji and MTU will never have crowds reaching 12,000.  They are smaller communities than Grand Forks.  They do not NEED 12,000 in the stands to put together a good team.  This has been proven time and time again.  As a matter of fact, with the exception of UW, the NCAA champions in the last 10 years all have arena capacities less then 8000.  Speaking of UW, the team that averages higher attendance the the Sue, how have they fared the last few years?  (Suprising they have such high attendance seeing as how they actually have real professional sports teams to see in nearby Milwaukee)

        Lets talk about SCSU and Neb-Omaha, teams who average high attendance as well.  Oh yeah, not much to talk about there…  No national championships and not even one frozen four appearance.

        Funny you picked BSU to call out on attendance as they actually have the highest average attendance of all of the NEW WCHA teams.  Even better, they have higher average attendance than the “like-minded” institutions known as Western Michigan and Miami of Ohio.  However, this attendance issue does not make a team good or bad.  Recruiting, coaching, systems and player desire make good teams.  Ferris State proved it, BSU proved it, UMD definately proved it, Northern Michigan and LSSU have proved it too.

        Only thing UND has proved is that attendance hasn’t bought them a banner in 12 years.

        • B.D.

          Every coach you meet will admit to you that it is easier to attract the best talent to the bigger venues.

          Regarding UNO – watch that space as over the coming years I feel it will be expanding faster than any other spot in college hockey.  A suprilative coaching staff with exceptional talent and a community that is just becoming aware.

          regarding Bemidi – Hey I wish they could justify bringing them to the NCHC.  Really do.  But it just wont wash…

          Regarding UND not having a Final Four banner in the past ten years.  I guess we will just have to concole ourselves with all the photos of the trips to the final four instead.

    • B.D.

      Here is the same post as below with appropriate pagination.

      You make the statment ”This league the NCHC is going to fold before they get off the ground.”  Please prove this using logic.
      You seem to be making the assessment that fans are more driven by the leagues than the teams itself which you will find a problematic sell to the average hockey fan.
      After all, I have no “WCHA” jerseys, or anything else with the WCHA logo in fact.  I do have quite a selection of UND Sioux products, many going back a significant number of years.
      Reference your comment that the NCHC is/was developed based on the fact that some schools think they are superior to other while in reality they are all the same.  This is provably false.  It would be extremely difficult to compare a typical program in the NCHC to what will make the up the remnants left in the WCHA.
      After all, while I like the Bemidji State program, it cannot and will not compare to UND in its ability to draw crowds and raise the level of play to a premium level.  I wish them well and hope UND plays them each year just to keep in touch.
      Likewise, compare Michigan Tech to UND.  You will not see crowds in Houghton approaching 12,000 fans to watch those games.  And the crowds you do see there are heavily spiked  with the UND logo.  There is nothing the same regarding these programs other than the numbers of players allowed on the ice.
      Regarding your fixation on a historical basis on the league.  Sure, there is no historical basis, but there will be.  History is always being made my freind.
      And I do not care if the NCHC is headquartered in C-Springs.  C-Springs is a very nice town that I have to go to twice a year for conferences.  Could be worse.

      • Yooperhockey

        I cant a believe you act like North Dokata is such a hockey city.

        You don’t relize a place like Soo, Michigan has Soo Greyhounds of the OHL and Lake Superior.Lakers in a small region.
        Also, in Houghton Michigan they support four higH school teams, Division 3 Finlandia Lions, and MTU Huskies.

        These two areas in Michigan don’t have the population base that Grand Forks has so it like comparing apples to oranges. Yes all the teams are Divisiom one progrms but I can’t understand how you think that ND is so superior to the leftovers.

        Miami, WMU, St Cloud and UMD are all in the N$H$ for the $$$$ ride.
        All four of these teams have one National Championship while the premier New WCHA has SEVEN National Championships with Lake State, MTU, and NMU alone not counting Bowling Green who won one.

        The N$H$ should look outside the box and relize they are not the only league playing hockey. Denver, CC and ND are going to fall flat on there face with this move. To abadonent the WCHA is a classless act by these three schools because they(ADs and coaches) think they are superior to other schools that have more accomplishments then the ones selected to be in the NCHC. Pure greed that will ruin college hockey as we know it from the past sixty years. Pi$$ed away in Colorado Springs where it was started by founding fathers of the WCHA.

        All the decisions of the league are centered around the likes of Denver, CC, and ND. The rest of the league is there for the ride.

        • BulldogFan

           Geography lesson.  North Dakota is a state not a city.  And UMD has more National Championships in the past 2 seasons as the nWCHA has in the past 18 seasons. That is is what you consider a premier conference?  Way to set the bar low.    You talk about how the WCHA has the history the problem with that statement is that history was created by all of the teams leaving. Yes MTU has a rich history but have done nothing since 1981. MTU has 3 national Championship but the last one was 1975….37 years and counting.  They haven’t made the NCAA tourney since 1981.  Just a tip…UMD, UND, DU, CC, UNO and SCSU are leaving ….get over it.  Its not good for your mental health is be angry for this long.  You have more important things to worry about then the National…. like when will Red retire and Pearson heads back to Ann Arbor.  Its only a matter of time.         

          • B.D.

            I like the way you list the nWCHA.  Will make it easier than simply calling them the remnants.

            And you are right about Tech.  THey have a rich history, but so does the Whig party….

          • Yooperhockey

            No substance in your statements. Just blah, blah and blah.

          • B.D.

            Perhaps you did not get the reference to the Whig Party.  Wiki describes the Whigs as:  ”a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s”

            You know, about the time Tech was dominant in the hockey world….

          • Yooperhockey

            When was the last time UNO, St Cloud, WMU, and Miami dominant?

            Never! never, never, never.

            What about MTU huskies?

            3 National Championships and 4 national runner-ups

            Your league is a lie…..

          • B.D.

            How is the NCHC a lie?  If you look at the teams involved in it each has been in the top 50% of their leagues recently  (Meaning not as of 1970′s).

            You are just gonna have to adjust.

          • Yooperhockey

            The NCHC is a lie.

            A napkin in a hotel and scrible down some teams to invite and all sudden a new league is formed.

            Lack of planning

            The league was formed but not knowing who was going to play in the league. They didn’t know how many teams and who to invite.

            Lack of leadership early on also hurt.

            I say it is a risk. No guarantees.

          • B.D.


          • Yooperhockey

            I am referring to not staffing but the of Organization and communication.

            The NCHC has shown a lack of anything.

            A fly by night league.

          • B.D.

            Exactly what organization is needed?  Oh, that is right – the annual Christmas Party…

            And Communication?  Faxing out the annual schedule Xcel spreadsheet requires the ability to dial a phone – so I guess they better hire 60 people for that function.

          • Fan Man

            You are lying to yourself if you think the 70′s count in this conversation.  I am glad to see a Husky fan that actually cares about his/her team.  You make the Final Five for once and now you think (one and done) you own the big “W”?   Thank goodness for Pearson huh…

          • Yooperhockey

            You don’t have premier teams in the NCHC as you might believe.

            WMU had to beg to enter league.

            St Cloud didn’t know if they were coming or going

            The NCHC begged Notre Dame to enter in which they declined.

            Miami has a coach who played with Denver, so if wasn’t form his associations Miami may would have been considered. Think about it if Mel Pearson would have taken the Miami job earlier.

            Would Miami be considered for the NCHC if Mel was coaching the
            Redhawks? No, No No. With Ernie coaching? Yes

            UNO Mavericks has Blais coaching, Ex ND coach. Invite them to the NCHC.

            UMD Bulldogs have Sandelin coaching. ex ND player.

            I see the good boys network going on in the NCHC.

            You can’t tell me the WCHA wasn’t decent because Gophers and Badgers left?

            Greed will kill college hockey the quality of the product is going to be watered down.

            I can see some programs closing shop or going division three.

            At least five programs will fail because of this move.

            Teams In Alaska, UP and Alabama are going to be at risk.

            But at least we will still have Colorado and North Dokata teams with nobody to play.

          • B.D.

            If you look at the standings, each of those teams you reference were in the top 50% of their leagues last year.  Sorry, it is just the case.

            Reference the fact that the WCHA was not as valuable after Minnesota and Wisconsin left – to a UND fan that is truly the case.  OUr two top rivals have departed.  We now are in search of a league that will provide better material.

            Far from watering down college hockey, I can make the case for the NCHC saving it.  We will finally have a premiere league that will focus attention much like the SEC does for Basketball.

          • Yoerhockey

            Minnesota and Wisconsin we valuable to MTU, too.

            Do you see MTU running from the WCHA? No

            MTU may never play Mimnesota again because of the demend the Gophers are.

            MTU and Minnesota are chartered members and MTU played Minnesota in three consecutive National Championships from 1974 to q1976.

            I don’t think NC games against previous teams arent as intense.

          • B.D.

            Do you really think that IF the NCHC had asked MTU to join the league they would have stayed with the nWCHA?  Really? 
            Come-on, REALLY?

          • Yooperhockey

            It will be the other way North Dokata, Denver, and CC will be asking to come back to the real league WCHA.

          • Yooperhockey

            I don’t care when they won Championships at least they have a history unlike some of the NCHC teams.

            MTU is premier team with a coach with 500+ wins more than UNO, St Cloud and WMU combined in their history of the program.

            Heck these programs lack any college hockey history. I hate to see the books written aboout these programs that are collecting welfare checks from Denver, CC and ND.

          • B.D.

            So, a team that won everything in the 1950′s but has not won a game since has as much value to a league as ones that break even each year?    REALLY? 

          • Yooperhockey

            If that is case what is the reason WMU Broncos are so Premier over MTU? They had to put website together to beg to play with your teams.No history in college hockey maybe two NCAA runs a sad story. And sure Notre Dsme gives you the finger and then WMU is welcomed in what a joke.

          • B.D.

            Didn’t they make the final four last year?

          • Fan Man

             The only problem WMU ran into this season was the Fighting Sioux in the Regionals at the X    New coach with NHL experience…   Comon man  they are good and you know it being a Michigan fan of some sort   I was scared going into the first game with the talent they have

          • WCHA Fan

            Kinda like UND’s history….

          • WCHA Fan

            Even more like Colorado College’s…

          • BulldogFan

             You replied to yourself?

          • WCHA Fan

            Yes…   Did you really need to clarify that or was it just a horrible attempt at a zing?

          • B.D.

            Really?  The team that at one point this season was nationally ranked in the top 5.?

          • WCHA Fan

            How did that work out for them?

          • Yooperhockey

            Total National Championships future premier NCHC teams.

            University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks= zero

            St Cloud Huskies=zero

            Western Michigan Broncos=zero

            Miami Redhawks=zero

            University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs= one

            Not bad five teams and only one national championship. I would consider these teams the PREMIER teams they have even sniffed a national championship game like the Ferris State Bulldogs.

            Looking at the above teams there is no premier teams to be seen. What a fake league. First you say your “National” which your not and to say your “premier” which you are not.

            The league is all for Denver, CC and ND. Sad for the big picture and the future of college hockey. Watch all the dominos fall because these three greedy programs.

          • Fan Man

             Start looking at tournament appearances  since 2000 for those 5 teams and you will know why they like to use the word “premier” (along with UND,CC,Denver).  Although I dont like that word associated with the league either, you cannot deny most of those aforementioned teams have been solid if not dominant lately…  And none of them will be taking a step back in the near future.. Well, maybe St. Cloud LOL

          • B.D.

            I seem to recall trips to the final four in the past several years for WMU and Miami.

            All one has to do is check the polls for the past five years and see the NCHC teams have a great rating in most years.

          • Yooperhockey

            The only trips that teams like UNO Mavericks is league jumping.
            CCHA, WCHA and NCHC.

            When was WMU Broncos in a Narional Championship game?

            The only premier league will be the New WCHA with proven winners from MTU, NMU, LSSU, and BGU.

            Denver and CC must not have any fans never hear from them?

          • B.D.

            MTU, NMU, LSSU, and BGU elite?  Against WHO?  Local high school teams?

            The secret is that Dean Blais has brought UNO into the WCHA and made thema tough team to handle and they improve every single year.  He is recrutiing players that normally would be seen wearing the green and white of the fighting Sioux if his program did not pre-empt them.

            And they have done better than MTU, NMU, BGU, and LSSU recently.

          • Fan Man

             Yooper, your living in the past man!  If you have watched any college hockey in the past 10 years you would not be comparing such teams to the likes of MTU and the great lakes bottom dwellers…  Seriously dude, I am not getting any of your points and what you say about the new WCHA is completely irrelevant

          • B.D.

            Yooper reminds me of a jilted lover who’s plaintive wail is “YOU Are  GONNa MISS MEEEEEEEE!!!!!

            When in fact we will not…  And he supsects that which makes him all the angrier and irrational.

          • Yooperhockey

            I am not living in the past. Yes MTU has struggled in present history with many loses and coaches. But at least they have a resume with many wins, championships, history, and players.

            But nobody can give me any legit information on how teams like Miami, UNO, WMU, UMD and St Cloud have any history or track record that makes these five teams considered Premier over MTU Huskies.

            A high profile coach doesn’t make your team high profile.

          • B.D.

            In this case Tech’s resume is a detriment.

          • Yooperhockey

            A high profile coach does make your team high profile.

            The ,big name coach gets you the kid who might be undecided.

            A big name coach even can league jumper UNO an invite to the so called premier league just ask coach Blais.

            A big name coach can even make a little town a big name town. Ask Jeff Jackson what he did to Lake State.

            A big name coach pits your University on the map.

          • BulldogFan

            Why didn’t Jeff Jackson stay at LSSU…the same reason Pearson won’t stay at Tech a better offer will come along

          • Yooperhockey

            Jeff Jackson didn’t exactly go back to college hockey. He went to the USA program, OHL, and NHL.

            I believe he was looking for greener pastures in the NHL and never got it. He went to the Notre Dame program when it wasn’t considered elite. In fact the equipment manager at Notre Dame was a former third string goalie at Lake State help land Mr Jackson at Notre Dame. So it was a fluke he even came back to college hockey at all.

          • Yooperhockey

            And so do these coaches leave too

            Ron Mason was at LSSU and Bowling Green
            Jerry York was at Bowling Green
            Rick Comley was at LSSU, NMU and MSU
            Amo Bessone was MTU and Michigan

            Herb Brooks almost took the job at MTU Huskies but his wife didn’t want to move to small city. I heard the interview with him and he wanted to coach the Huskies with th guy that is the assistant with the Badgers right can’t think of his name but he was an assistant coach with Brooks with the Gophers.

            Mike Sertich a legend coach came to coach the MTU Huskies for three seasons after he coached many years with UMD. These two coaches who are great for college hockey are willing to coach the Huskies show their is respect out their from other college hockey organizations.

          • Yooperhockey

            Once Dean Blais leaves Assistant coach Brian Renfrew takes over then what happens to the program?

            No name coach and fans in Omaha who don’t know what offsides is.

            Sounds like an elite team to me. Sounds like a money city to me trying to find something to do just like boring Grand Forks.

            At least yoopers know what offsides is. I just can’t believe you can call Omaha an elite hockey city. Maybe a elite coach but not a hockey city.

            Houghton tops Omaha by landslide at least they know hockey terminology.

            I am sorry the NCHC has it all wrong.

          • B.D.

            YOU ARE GONNA MISS MEEEEEE!  Hahahahaha.

            We have some experince with exposing new people to hockey here in Grand Forks.  We have a large population of Folks at the Grand Forks Air Force base who know nothing of the sport when they arrive, but when they depart three years later know the rules and are genuine fans of the Sioux.  I know this from personal experience as I have run into them at military bases around the world wearing UND jerseys.  And they are usually originally from places like Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah.

            Omaha is coming along nicely and will have a significant fan base by the end of the decade.  And that is what is key.

            As far as Blais having problems with his program – they topped Tech in the standings, didn’t they?

          • Yoerhockey

            Omaha is a lost cause.

            Welcome to the NCHC UNO is a train wreck.

            Lack of knowledgable fans of hockey.

          • B.D.

            Already handled.  Next?

        • B.D.

          Of course Grand Forks is a Hockey based city.  It has ever since I was three years old in the early 60′s.

          Of all the teams you mention in your recitation of the wonders of hockey in Northern Michigan, how many of them can reasonably expect to attract 12,000 fans on a week in – week out basis?  None of them can.  Hell, I only recognize two and they can’t fill the 4K seats they have available.

          Regarding population bases – you confl ate two arguments that defeat your position:  1.)  Grand Forks is supposedly a large metropolitan area in your view (Wow)
          2.)  The limited population base of the northern area of Michigan prevents adequate crowd sizes in comparison somehow speaks FOR Tech joining the NCHC?  Huh?

          All four of the programs you list as being in the NCHC for the “Dollar ride” should aim for poverty instead?  How does that work out in your world?

          Your position that the NCHC will fall flat on its face because the programs involved are somehow classless leads me to believe you believe hockey conferences should be welfare programs for the incapable.  Just keep patting Tech on the head as you ring their bells because they were great ometime prior to color TV?

          Regarding the teams other than UND, Denver, and CC in the NCHC just being along for the ride – I would watch those comments while around Dean Blais at UNO.  I can easily foresee a time when UNO under his tutelage will be a dominate team.  There is not a bad team in the new NCHC, all of them would have trumped the remnants this year and likely will have a significant +/- against them in head to head matchups.

          • Yooperhockey

            The four programs should be the New WCHA.

            Denver, CC and North Dokata should be in their own league.

            Who is North Dokata going to play in non conference games? Who wants to go to Grand Forks for NC games?

          • B.D.


            Who wants to go to North Dakota to play non-conference games?  Generally, it is programs who want to play in front of large crowds, in a palatial facility, with nearly guaranteed video coverage.  Virtually EVERYBODY!

          • Fan Man

             I cant believe you even said that….   Like B.D said, “Everybody” wants to play in a NHL like atmosphere where every game is like the playoffs..   You want to see a stanley cup environment in October, come to the Ralph   Enough said!!!

          • Yooperhockey

            Can you say it this way, “Kids with a silver spoon wants to play ND, Denver, and CC.”

            In other words kids who don’t have to work hard and get everything given to them play for you.

          • B.D.

            How is that logical?
            So your team gets kids who DONT want to play in a competitive atmosphere?  WOW!!!!!!

          • Fan Man

             Kids that work hard (even Minnesota tiaks) have to work hard to play at the D1 level.   Did you even play hockey?

    • Fan Man

       Yooper ol’ buddy, I figured you would have posted on here before I even got to read the article.  First as you know I love the WCHA league for what it is now and for what is has been!  It seems to me that you are angry at the NCHC for leaving your team (MTU I’m guessing, am I right?) out of the conference and leaving you with little or no big name conference foes to challenge…  The two big announcements that were already to made are this one with the hiring of the new commish, and the one I fear….   That Target Center is going to be the tournament site!  Now I know they have held hockey games/tournaments in the past and it is in reality a neutral site (meaning more fans can drive to the tourney) but I just think that place is a dumb!!!  The viewing is obscured in some areas, the lighting is dark, and of course last but not least, IT IS A BASKETBALL ARENA!  Although I admit I am not a huge fan of BB, I went to a game earlier in the year there and walked out after the first quarter.  Given it was only the T-wolves and Cavaliers playing but still, BORING….   I just did not like the atmosphere and I fear that in the coming years I may be forced to watch my beloved Sioux play there  

      • Yooperhockey

        You didnt mention the “hockey people” they hired to run the NCHC.

        Yes I am irate that the NCHC is forming it is crock that a few schools from the mountains of Colorado and plains of North Dokata THINK they are SUPERIOR to other college hockey programs when they are equal.

        Why these jokers believe they should ruin a great league like the WCHA by forming a sub par league with unproven teams with the likes of Miami, WMU, St Cloud, and UMD.

        The league should have stayed together with a few extras to secure the traditions of the storied WCHA.

        • WCHA Fan


          Do you realize that when everyone else here posts against your sentiments, they only mention UND when it comes to attendance and names?  With the exception of UMD and Denver, the others, in my opinion, are just along for the ride.  Listen, I agree that the creation of the NCHC was the result of some arrogant AD’s and coaches trying to squeeze out a few extra bucks, but what is done is done.  The reality of the situation in my opinion is this:  The teams in the NEW WCHA have proven they can compete.  MTU had a much improved season last year, BSU has notched a victory against every WCHA opponent, LSSU and NMU saw legitimate time in the polls last year, and Ferris State, well, BC was probably the only team this spring that could stop them from raising the banner.  The new NCHC teams will be wearing each other out all season, while the WCHA will still be sending one, if not two teams to the NCAA’s.  We all know that the “leftover teams” not only have the ability to beat all others, but they will have the desire and energy to do it.  The WCHA will continue to be a legitimate conference and someday soon will prove it to the naysayers.

          The only concern they truly face is financing, however, being an alum from one of the schools, I know that the dedicated fans and university leadership will make it work.  I also believe that with the right leadership in place within the conference, the amount of money needed to maintain the WCHA will need not be as high as some of the “others.”  While it is true that some players born with a silver spoon in their mouths are attracted to big name programs with minimal TV contracts, most players I enjoy watching will play for hard working, class act programs like MTU, Ferris and BSU that have had, and will have, legitimate shots at NCAA bids and Frozen Four glory.

          All I can say to programs like SCSU and WMU, is see you in the stands every year at the NCAA tourney while you are watching UND, UMD, DU, Ferris, Bemidji, MTU and LSSU play for the banners!

          • Fan Man

            “The new NCHC teams will be wearing each other out all season, while the
            WCHA will still be sending one, if not two teams to the NCAA’s.”

            By saying that, you already caved in to admitting that the NCHC conference is superior to the WCHA…  While quality teams beat up on each other, the new W is only going to be playing leftover bottom dwellers and wont be able to compete come tournament time!  I don’t see the WCHA turning into an EZAC conference but I do see a few years of struggle right away for them.  As for the teams beating up on each other all year in the NCHC, competition only makes these teams stronger and remember that college hockey teams only play 2 games a weekend (well most) so in reality, the schedule is not all that gruesome.  Also remember that elite players are going to want to be playing against other elite players…  I’m wondering what that is going to do for recruitment in the new WCHA?  With limited exposure, how are they going to be able to compete with Hockey East, Big 10, and the NCHC….  

          • B.D.

            Concur, his logic assumes the new WCHA will not be trying too hard in the regular season.  Try running that past a coaching staff….

          • Yooperhockey

            The New WCHA can still recruit overage Canadiens from the BCJHL, and AJHL.

          • BulldogFan

            The nWCHA will get the leftovers from the AJHL, BCHL, USHL after Duluth, Denver and UND take the blue chip players. 

          • B.D.

            Concur with that. 

          • Yooperhockey

            Hey I found a smart fan. He knows the NCHC coaches and ADs are fooling themselves.

            Does the Big 10 tell Northwestern to take a hike? No

            People like Ken Ralph, George G, Scott Owens and woman AD at Denver are going to kill these programs when they fall flat on their face.

          • B.D.

            Explaining the fooling themselve comment.  Do you think the NCHC will not be profitable for th teams involved?  Please prove that….

          • Yooperhockeu

            The NCHC is a big gamble the league doesn’t show results right away ie National Championships, Final Fours, and profits.

            Expectations are going to be high and if the results don’t happen.

            It is hard to project profits if you don’t have a name.

            What are you going to sell to a National audience on TV?

            Welcome to the USFL, AFL,and WHA.

            Where are these leagues? Folded

            Tough, tough sell any way you look at it?

            Half the people in the US have don’t even know North Dokata is a state?

            It is not going to be easy to market NCHC as you might think?

            The product is new, unfamiliar teams, no websiIte, logo, trophies, and officials.

            The NCHC is putting the future of college hockey at a gamble to teams in the Midwest and West.

            I wish the WCHA could have hosted a East and West divisions with the remaining CCHA and WCHA teams.

            The West could have played their teams and the East could have played their teams.

            Why almost kill two leagues(WCHA and CCHA) to form a complete noname NCHC league is insane.

            Hopefully WCHA can stay in business in the long run.

          • B.D.

            You obviously do not understand profitability.

            For somereason you believe that viewers watch WCHA hockey because of the WCHA brand which is foolhardy at best.  I watch UND on the FSSN whenever it is available on direct TV regardless of whether they are playing a WCHA opponant or University of Manitoba.

            The WCHA has been, and will continue to be an echeloned brand which is delegated.  You will see virtually no fall off of viewership amongst the fans of the teams regardless of which premiere team is playing and in fact that since the NCHC concentrates larger fan bases you will see increased viewrship.

            You fixate on the conference staffing.  Whi ch is tangential to the conversation due to its INCREDIBLY lessened impact on operations.  I keep asking, once the schedule is released – what meaningful activity does the conference partake in?  Okay, occasionally they review video to see wheter someone should be penalized – which is a 30 minute gig at best.

          • Yooperhockey

            You watch and see the nWCHA will be contacted by ESPN to broadast the league as they move games to week day nights.

            ESPN broadcasts MAC football games during the weekday nights. I can see ESPN wanting to broadcast nWCHA games because of the uniqueness and history of the league.

            A bush league will sell to American viewers. Heck I believe every Canadien kid can relate to nWCHA because the teams will remind them of home.

          • B.D.

            Sooooooo…..   You think ESPN will wish to broadcast games to a fan base of 3,000?  NO way, no viewership nationally to make it worthwhile.  HIgh school football teams in Texas have larger fan bases than the teams in the nWCHA.

            ESPN will not care about “The Uniqueness and HIstory of the League” when their NEILSONS come back saying that the only guy who watched a game was named YOOPERHOCKEY.

            Regarding Canadian kids wh want to play in the nWCHA because it reminds them of home, in that case they will wish all the more to play in the NCHC.  Grand Forks, Duluth, Colorado Springs, St Cloud, and Denver are useful surrogates for their hometowns.

            In reality, they will wish to play in the premiere league that will funnel them into pro contracts while getting educated.  The nWCHA will not fit that bill, sorry.

            You might as well try saying “But players will like Houghton because it has nice trees…”

          • Yooperhockey

            At least Houghton has trees.

          • B.D.

            Thats it?  Houghton has trees?  That is the reason Tech is approriate for premiere hockey?  WOW!

          • Fan Man

             Yoops, ur failing to explain main reasons why Tech should be recruited into the big show..  What you say is like mentioning the Twins would be better if they replaced the pine trees in center field of target field  

          • Yooperhockey

            MTU has a history in college hockey unlike the so called premier teams of University Nebraska Omaha, St Cloud, WMU, UMD and Maimi. All of these five teams only gave college hockey one national championship. This is absolutely disgrace to college that these teams are premier and National.

            Anyways MTU has three National Championships and four runner-ups. Add to fact MTU has the first american born player ever drafted in the NHL. Also, MTU is owner of the oldest cup in hockey in the country the MacNaughton Cup which older then the Stanley Cup. This cup is oldest cup in circulation. Also, MTU has been the original charter member of the WCHA. Coach John.MacGinnes won over 565 games from 1956 to 1981. He had a winning record against every team he played against including Denver, Colorado College, and North Dokata.

            John MacGinnes contacted the owner of WMPL radio to broadcast his games Bob Olson. Mr Olson who is the only broadcaster inducted on the WCHA fiftty years all time team. He broadcast for 31 years and started the college hockey scoreboard in which college hockey coaches from throughout the country would call in the scores from their games. This is before the Internet and we had only a phone. Anyways he also is the first to start a nationwide college hockey poll for all the teams.

            We have the National Championships, wins, coach, the cup,and even a legend broadcaster Bob Olson. I believe MTU has impacted what college hockey is today and made it possible for many new teams today to compete in Division One college hockey.

          • Yooperhockey

            Those trees in Houghton are hockey sticks. If MtU plays with hockey sticks they can play with the beat of them premiers. I believe tTech has already been a premier for the last sixty years in the WCHA. So I think they have already been in it all this time. They never left only once for three seasons but we came back.

            I was looking the other day at a trophy case at the SDC and I saw three National Championship trophies. I was thinking to my self how many other teams that don’t even have one of these trophies. Many teams came to mind and few of these teams are playing this new league that is called NCHC. The teams come to mind were UMD, WMU, St Cloud, Miami, and UNO. The odd thing about this situation is these teams are calling themselves “elite” and “premier” and even more superior then the Michigan Tech Huskies. Aren’t some people just plain dumb. The Huskies are the big show not the NCHC.

          • Yooperhockey

            This is for you Fan Man.

            I have answers for you.

            The trees are the sticks. The trophies are real I saw them at the rink in the case. The Michigan Tech Huskies are elite, premier, and superior. The big show is in Houghton, Michigan not in the fake NCHC league.

            How did the other six teams miss out on this?

            The next big announcement by the NCHC is the league will ask MTU if they can come back to the WCHA.

          • WCHA Fan

            While I am fairly confident that ESPN will not be knocking on the WCHA’s door looking for  TV deal, I am just as confident that your opinion regarding the fan base of the WCHA teams is way off the mark.  With the exception of UND fans,(They are, in my opinion, the exception to every rule, not just hockey) UMD, SCSU and CC, the other schools in the NCHC compromise schools with several DI sports.  (I know UND has the same, but really, only hockey is relevant there)  Miami, Denver, UNO, and WMU all have other sports that draw.  Miami and WMU football in the MAC for example.  While some students and alumni may be drawn to support all sports, many of them are one sport fans.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that minus DU, the other schools and their alumni are spending their time and money watching Bronco or Redhawk Football.

            In contrast, the only sport that matters in Houghton, Sault Ste Marie, Big Rapids, Bemidji, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mankato and Marquette is hockey.  Further, although Bemidji, MTU and LSSU have average enrollments around 5000, they are all in hockey country and most students there become lifetime fans.  All of the remaining schools have enrollments well over 10,000, with two over 20,000.  Many of the alumni are scattered throughout the midwest and country.

            I, for example, live in a major city but attended one of these schools that is four hours away from where I live.  I am only able to attend one weekend series on campus per year.  I do, however, watch every game they play on TV or the internet every year.  Obviously, schools like Minnesota, Denver, and UNO will have fans in their seats when metro populations exceed 1 million residents.  Grand Forks will fill their arena as there is nothing else to do there.  But arena capacity and attendance does not neccessarily mirror the number of fans there are for a specific school that are craving to see their favorite team play hockey.  There are hundreds of thousands of residents, alumni and fans of the “remaining WCHA teams” that are out there.

            See you in the 2014 NCAA’s….   Good luck to everyone, well, almost everyone.

        • B.D.

          What does the Conference staff actually do once the schedule has been hashed out?

    • Lakes18

      But the new WCHA has no history, no traditions, and no trophies!  The so called commissioner of the New WCHA was to lazy and not bright enough to come up with a new name conference.

      Im a WCHA fan, Minnesota fan,  and wishing it was not going to be broken up.  The new league is not the WCHA! 

      Stop trying to ride the coattails of the current WCHA!

      • WCHA Fan

        Minnesota, Wisconsin were told to leave the WCHA by the Evil B1G Empire.  The others chose to leave the conference known as the WCHA.  At what point does that not make the remaining teams in the conference still WCHA teams?

      • Yooperhockey

        Give me a break the WCHA has had many different teams through the years Michigan, MSU, and Notre Dame.

        The WCHA has had many teams in the league. Give me a. Break.

      • nogofer

        Get over it sister…

  • No Big Deal

    “NCHC planning ‘two pretty big announcements’ in coming week” could have been better worded as, “NCHC planning ‘one announcement’ coming in a couple of weeks”

    • steel country hockey

      NCHC to call a press conference and say that future press conferences will all be “pretty big” and coming real soon.  Hard to find relevance when you are the only conference not playing in the next year.

      That being said, if the NCHC continue to get the recruits they have been getting they probably will have the most entertaining hockey from top to bottom.

  • Falcon

    Thanks for taking this clown off our hands, p.s. he was just the head events manager at the academy. He is known for his laziness, his me first attitude and pretty much hated by all athletic dept staff who work hard to continue to improve falcon athletics

    • Scott

      What?  Novak is very well respected at the Academy.  He just wanted to be a part of some real top college hockey as opposed to watching Air Force dominate the AHA.

    • Yooperhockey

      Sounds like Mr Novak is well liked by the Air Force.

      How did he get picked over 160 candidates if is “hated” by the athletic staff and is lazy.

      Maybe he was recommended by the Air Force hockey coach. Heck he is in walking distance from the nonexistence offices of the NCHC.Maybe they can put the offices in a ski chalet.

      Well let me add this up we have a Commish who like to wrestle, Director of Operations who like to fly and a tourney that will be held where Basketball is number one. I think WCHA sounds more like a hockey league to me.

      Wrestling+air force+basketball=NCHC


    The NCHC will be fine.

    It boasts being in two major metropolitan areas. It has 4 of the ten largest arenas in the country. 5 of the top ten teams in the country in attendance are in the new league. It has decent geography for travel. It has centrally located arena options for conference tournaments in facilities suitable to the purpose. 2 of its memebers are among the storied programs in the sport. It has an exclusive TV deal with the CBS Sports Network who will be carrying 18 conference regular season games and the entire conference tournament. This in addition to whatever other conference games are covered on TV networks associated with foes from other conferences.

    What’s not to like here?

    • ReturntoGoldCountry

      Just as long as the other 6 teams realize that the 18 televised games will be spilt between UND-10 and Denver-8, so the only time their fans will see them on CBS sports is on the road against those teams and that is assuming that they pay extra to get CBS sports. Whats not to like? Only the fact that with 17 months before the first game is played that this is already the most over-rated league in College Hockey.  Also the suspected betrayal of the rest of the WCHA after agreeing to stick together just to add the mighty powerhouses of Miami and UWM both of whom could have been added to the WCHA to move it back from 10 to 12 teams.  This is a complete slap in the face of UAA, MSU, MTU, and MSU.  The 6 WCHA teams are basically saying you for are so bad that we cannot simply add Miami and Western Michigan to the WCHA (minus UM and UW) because it would dilute the league to much.  Instead we have to cut you 4 who we feel are inferior to form our own conference in an attempt to say hey don’t ignore us, we are still relevant, and just as cool as the B1G TEN, while in the process cause the closure of a league that would have still survived had you just added Miami and UWM.

      • BulldogFan

         Yeah and the big ten had NOTHING to do with the break up of the WCHA.  Funny I don’t remember the Big Ten school saying “for the good of college hockey” Penn State could play in the CCHA.  Also I love when fans of the leftover WCHA teams say the NCHC teams should have stayed in the WCHA and invited Miami and Notre Dame to join the WCHA.  Yeah the would have been great for the remaining CCHA, way to do “whats best for college hockey” .  Anyone want to put odds on the BIG TEN teams making trips to any of the new WCHA arenas.  Michigan and Wisconsin don’t travel unless its the ICEBREAKER or to BC/BU. its beneath them, just ask their fans. I would bet the majority if not all of the National teams will make trips to the nWCHA.  I’m sure the hate for the National will only get worse once they start playing and consistently are putting 4 teams in the NCAAs and are a fixture in the Championship game.  Up keep up the hate it makes for fun reading.       

        • Yoopwrhockey

          Read Return to Glory statement he says it like it happen.

          • BulldogFan

             Do you have the Michigan Tech logo on your bong? 

          • Yooperhockey

            Michigan Tech National Championships Three

            UMD Bulldogd National Championships One

            CC Tigers Nationall Championships Two

            UNO, St Cloud, WMU, and Maimi. Zero, Zero Zero Zero

            What team is better out these so called NCHC teams?

            none. The only New WCHA team.

        • Nagiom

          The Big Ten followed their conference bylaws.  The rest of the schools did the backstabbing.  

      • Yooperhockey

        You say it like I read in articles after Minnesota and Wisconsin left.

        Back Stabbers, nice of them.

        This left us with leftovers with five in WCHA and four in CCHA. How nice of them to leave us with two Midwest lame ducks leagues. They don’t even take credit for this disgrace to college hockey.

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