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College Hockey:
A running list of questions about the emerging Big Ten

Part of this is for my own sanity.

Great timing of the Big Ten Conference to announce it’s going to start men’s hockey in 2013-14, right during the busiest time of the college hockey season. Although, to its benefit, at least the league didn’t announce it during the conference tournaments. And, in its defense, I suspect the league has been getting some pressure to make an official announcement as to its status with men’s hockey, even though it can’t officially say it’s adding the sport because the presidents and chancellors haven’t yet approved it.

So, given that I have about 6,000 other things on my mind as we roll into the NCAA tournament later this week, I wanted to make a list of questions or things that need to be addressed about the emerging Big Ten hockey league. Some are rhetorical. Some are those to which I’d like actual answers. Feel free to add in your questions or thoughts in the comments below.

Question 1: What about those non-conference games?

Do the math. Twenty league games, so 10 at home. Teams can play 34, not counting some exempt tournaments and games in Alaska. Big programs like Wisconsin and Minnesota need to have 20 home games per season to make the financials work. So, with 14 non-conference games to work with, 10 of them are going to have to be at home.

I don’t like that balance, although I suppose that it’s been that way to some extent for a long time.

But which schools will go to the Big Ten buildings without a guarantee of a return series in their building in a future year? I can see some kind of scheduling arrangement being worked out between the Big Ten schools and their former conferences, but, at most, four of those games are going to be in the home buildings of those old conference rivals.

This is going to take some working out.

Question 2: Where’s that conference tournament going to be?

I’ve heard Chicago is the preferred location. But, remember, if the conference tournament and NCAA men’s basketball schedules stay the same, that could take a number of buildings (Chicago’s United Center, Milwaukee’s Bradley Center) out of the loop as a permanent home because they also occasionally host hoops regionals.

There are other locations, to be sure, but you’d like to have it somewhere easily accessible to all the teams and their fans, and still have a quality building in which to play.

Question 3: Which domino falls next?

Are schools like Notre Dame and Miami going to be content playing in a CCHA that doesn’t have Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State?

Does Hockey East try to lure them over there and make a 12-team league?

Where does Alabama-Huntsville fall in all of this?

More questions — and, hopefully, answers — to come when I get some more time.

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  • UNHguy2405

    Is a conference carousel upcoming for the exisiting conferences? Like what happened in the bigger sports the past few years.

    • Bulldog07

      I dunno…I gotta say I don’t see Hockey East or the ECAC changing things up. Hockey East for the reasons that BBear gave (geography and scheduling), and the ECAC because of the Ivies and also a nice geographic footprint as well.

      I can see some swapping with Atlantic Hockey, CCHA, WCHA and Alabama-Huntsville, but if the financials become that much harder for those small CCHA teams I don’t see them grabbing UAH. Air Force makes sense in the WCHA, as does Alaska-Fairbanks.

      The more I look at it, the more likely it is that the CCHA folds, unless it really guts Atlantic Hockey (by grabbing Mercyhurst, RIT, Robert Morris, Air Force…).

      • Joe C

        Hockey East’s next acquisition will be to bring UConn Men into the tent with another team. The women are already there and this makes geographic sense for a rvialry with UMass-Amhest. UConn is a huge school with an underserved D-I program. Becoming a 12-team league allows for scheduling changes, perhaps even divisional play. The 12th team could be one of the other New England D-I teams in Atlantic Hockey or there could be a jump to 14 teams, with Quinnipiac, Bentley and Holy Cross.

        I see the real victim of Big Ten to be Atlantic Hockey, since the non New England schools could be picked off by CCHA or saved by ECAC. The same dominoes that fell with Pac-10/Big Ten in football.

        ECAC and Hockey East will do just fine with all of the changes. WCHA is strong enough to survive and CCHA will gobble up what it needs to absorb to survive. Do not doubt that the Big Ten will thrive, sine there are six huge public schools with programs (including Penn State’s new program)

        Do not think for a minute that the gears are not turning in Wakefield, Mass as we speak.

        • Big Ten Hater

          Hockey East wants UConn and Rhode Island because of their desire to have all the New England state schools in one league. Bentley and HC don’t make sense because they are so small and QU is loving it in the ECAC and has natural rivalries. In the end HE isn’t going to expand because they have the shortest travel of any conference in the country and don’t want to jeopardize that

          • Css228

            Well the only move I can see the ECAC and HE making is moving back toward the old ECAC (with some modifications for new teams) in order to get more attention if the BTHC starts to become a juggernaut.

          • Joe C

            From the Boston Schools to Storrs is a two-hour bus ride. UConn is a huge school that supports its athletic programs. It is actually a longer ride from UConn to Providence. Unlike Big Ten schools that make their money from football, UConn makes it money from the basketball teams. There is only one original Big East team that bolted the conference for football reasons and they are still in Hockey East.

            Hockey East certainly would not mind adding a small school or two, rounding out to 12 or 14 teams. Rhode Island is an intriguing possibility, but since it is a club sport, it is harder to make that leap. Holy Cross and Sacred Heart also make sense, AIC makes sense as well.

            (I forgot that Quinnapiac is in ECAC)
            One thing to remember is that Hockey East and the ECAC are geographically co-mingled. They frequently schedule each other for non-conference, along with the AHA schools. If AHA is broken apart as a result of Big 10 causing Robert Morris, Mercyhurst and AFA to leave, ECAC and Hockey East will pick up the New York and New England schools.

            If Hockey East has 12 or 14 schools with two divisions, the schedule is 2 games in division and 1 out of division for primary rival. 12 teams equals 16 games, 14 teams equals 21 games. To increase games for a 12 team league, add two-to-four rotating games against out of division or go all out and have the 22-game schedule for 12-teams.

          • RedGreenBlue

            Longer ride from UConn to Providence than to Boston? Actually, it’s about an hour and a quarter from Storrs to Providence. Anyhow, after gotten financially hosed on its BCS bowl appearance, I don’t see an appetite for UConn to sink more money into ice hockey.

          • Joe C

            It is shorter distance-wise, but I-84 to I-90/II-495 beats US 6. It looks close on a map, but it until I-384 is completed (if it ever is) it is a long drive time-wise.

            UConn football will not make money, but the Basketball programs sure do. Also, the women’s program is in Hockey East, so do not discount it. The same arguments about moving were made 10+ years ago when UVM moved from the ECAC to Hockey East.

        • Guest

          I see the CCHA becoming a low scholarship conference like Atlantic Hockey. Miami and Notre Dame can move to the WCHA, making it a stronger conference. Bemidji State and Mich Tech would go to the CCHA. Lower scholarship limits would allow these programs as well as Northern Michigan and Lake Superior survive on smaller budgets. Ferris State and Bowling Green are already shaky. I can’t see those schools making it long term without the paydays of the Big Ten schools. What to do with Western Michigan and Alaska are problems. A 14 team conference with 2 divisions could work. Several schools in Atlantic Hockey want to expand scholarships, they can go to the CCHA with a limit of 14 or 16. Any way you look at it big changes are ahead. I am sad to see the WCHA as we know it go away. It will survive, and could come out stronger than ever, but the final five at the X is gone.

          • Gophers4Life

            Actually, I think the Final Five will stay at the X. The Big Ten won’t care about selling out, they want to put it in a fair location in the middle of the Big Ten schools, so it will end up being Chicago or Columbus more than likely. If they wanted to sell it out they would NEED to put it in St. Paul, that would be the only logical explanation because Detroit doesn’t care about college hockey one bit and MN fans will not travel to a terrible city like Chicago or Columbus when Minneapolis has much more amenities for hockey fans

          • http://twitter.com/sdl9109 Seth

            Fair location and Columbus do not compute. And it will almost certainly be in Chicago, which a) is centrally located and within reasonable driving distance for every team and b) has a ton of Big Ten alums. Furthermore, Michigan, MSU, OSU, and PSU will never agree to putting the tournament in St. Paul because that’s too long a distance from their campuses and doesn’t even come close to being a neutral site.

          • Ring_of_Fire

            The problem with Chicago is the fact that it frequently hosts an NCAA hoops regional at the United Center. Unless schedules change dramatically, permanently hosting the BTHC tournament at the UC would completely preclude March Madness from visiting Chicago…and that’ll never happen. Yes, there are other venues in town with ice, but would the Big Ten be willing to play in anything less than a “flagship” venue?

            I would not be surprised to see something like a rotating conference tourney – at least, to begin with.

          • http://twitter.com/sdl9109 Seth

            March Madness isn’t always hosted at the United Center when it’s in Chicago. In 2005, for instance, the Chicago regional was hosted at Allstate Arena. Speaking of which, I doubt that the Big Ten would object to having games at Allstate Arena if the United Center is hosting the NCAAs because when the NCAA Tournament has games at the United Center, the host is the Big Ten.

          • Gophers4Life

            But would those schools agree to it for every other year since they know that they would be playing in front of a sell out crowd at least every other year then? Maybe rotate it between Chicago and St. Paul just to make money every other year, bc the Big Ten will lose money by holding the tournament in Chicago. And what i meant about the cities is that, they have no college hockey teams or hockey fans for that matter in the area. St. Paul has 7 DI teams within a 5 hour drive. Sure only wisconsin and minnesota are Big Ten schools in that but 4 of the 5 other schools fans will come and watch to see Minnesota, the only one that wouldn’t come would be NoDak fans

          • Khryx

            I would hazard a guess that you are correct that the Final Five will remain at the X for travel purposes and attendance. As Seth said, Columbus makes no sense for fair location or in the middle (check a map). However, Chicago and some locations in Indiana are possibilities. As for your comparison of cities (Chicago, Columbus, and Minneapolis), my guess is you had a bad experience in Chicago and Columbus. I know my view of Minneapolis is jaded based upon my one visit there.

          • Maximjd

            “Guest” I think you are seriously mistaken on the realignment. Bemidji State is not going to the CCHA, as I huge college hockey fan in Minnesota, I can say pretty confidently that most other team fans (at least all the ones I know) would rather play BSU than Miami. BSU travels fairly well, and play most of these teams in other sports. Don’t forget, Minn has only came to Bemidji 2 times ever, and UW has never been there, so they are not going to miss anything. Lowering scholarships has never been on BSU playes, nor will it.

        • Styles9002

          I don’t see where you are getting the idea that Hockey East wants UConn to join it? I have no inside information on it but I can only think the last thing HE would want is to add UConn to league. I would suggest that HE would be open to having Harvard and Yale join but that is most likely not going to happen anytime soon as neither of them will leave the Ivy League.

          • Joe C

            It is the biggest television market in New England without a Hockey East rooting interest. It is the largest public school in New England not part of Hockey East. It has a very good alumni network. Hockey East has a game of the week televised on NESN and NESN surely would like to get viewers from Hartford.

            There are multiple AHL teams in New England with AHL-Level facilities, so there is no need to worry about new buildings. For the same reasons that the Pac-10 pulled its stealth moves, Hockey East could do the same. Everyone knew Nebraska was going to the Big Ten. Colorado and Utah going to the Pac-10 caught a lot of people by surprise.

  • Anonymous

    The beauty of Hockey East is the tight geography of its member teams. All but Maine and Vermont are within an hour’s drive of one another. OK, two hours for UMass. But the downside of the league is that currently each team plays 27 conference games each year. That is just too much and does not allow for enough games against out of conference opponents. I hope HEA does not expand as I think 10 teams is just right.

  • Bronco

    If Hockey East grabs ND and Miami, you could very well see the struggle for the remaining CCHA 6 to stay afloat until there were small enough numbers to “merge” with the WCHA.

    As this develops more and more all I sense is the death of the CCHA looming.

    • collegehockeyfan

      I sense a domino effect of the fall of college hockey, this move will put too much strain on the smaller schools in both the WCHA and the CCHA. I think the small programs will begin to drop one by one as time goes…. it’s really too bad for college hockey. And just to prove that the big ten is all about money, they announce this right after the national tournament selection…. why not after the tournament? It’s all a spotlight issue and the big ten wants to be in it. Glad to see it may not have the same inpact on HE or the ECAC. The WCHA, CCHA, and even AH are in question for now as to who will go where… Sad day for college hockey.

    • Ring_of_Fire

      I honestly don’t think Miami would approve a move to Hockey East.

      A move to Hockey East would add probably $100,000 per year to a travel budget that, as a public school, the athletic department is already hard pressed to justify.

      Given the economic environment facing public schools right now, budgetary constraints may well force Miami to stay in a withering CCHA for the long haul…which is too bad, because the program deserves better.

      • Bob

        That’s my concern. From a travel perspective, unless there’s some magic Terry Pegula money out there, Miami is in a no-man’s-land in terms of travel either to play a WCHA or HE schedule.

  • Nyqi

    How about having Notre Dame and Miami move over to the WCHA? That seems to be an alternative at least. That would help keep the WCHA as a top conf. The problem that I see with this as a college hockey fan (and a loyal North Dakota fan) is that it could mean the end of the CCHA. And that wouldn’t be good for anyone. I just hope that the large college conferences are happy once they have totally destroyed the last sport they get their hands on. This isn’t going to kill college hockey or anything but it isn’t going to make it better and can the few extra dollars that the little 10 will gain from this they need to take that into account.

    • JO’Co

      Funny everyone praises the WCHA, hasn’t HE had the last three National Champions?? HE may not have not had the depth this year. You can say they play weaker div opponents but they still do well in the NCAA….except UNH they always choke!!!!

      • JO’Co

        Im not discrediting the WCHA, its a great conference…ND and Miami would def only make it better. Teams are gonna beat up on each other like crazy and I wonder how that would affect the PWR and really know how good everyone is.

        • skeptic

          ND and Miami will make the WCHA better? How old are you?

    • Anonymous

      ND and Miami would make the WCHA strong enough to stand up to the money the Big 10 will spend. It would remain the strongest conference in college hockey. The loser in all this will be the CCHA. Maybe they survive with a lower scholarship limit,say 14 or 16 scholarships. Bowling Green and Ferris State are already shaky, and long term I don’t see Northern Mich or Lake Superior competing with a full scholarship budget. Bemidji and Mich Tech can move over from the WCHA, pick up Mercyhurst and RIT and you have a financially viable conference. I don’t like it but money talks and tradition walks.

    • David

      Miami does not have the resources to have a travel budget like that.

    • Mwoiuyrt987

      Miami has no money…they are on a roll right now and avg 3,000 fans…not much ability to do more

  • Phoenixfyre1313

    Great plans for the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago. I can see the stands half full, if even that.

    • Anonymous

      It has to be at the X or the Joe to draw anybody.

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com/ Goon

      does anyone want to venture a guess that when the other big ten schools don’t add hockey and they are tired of beating each other up they will come begging to join a different league.

    • Joe C

      I am guessing that for the first few years, Joe Louis Arena could host both CCHA and Big Ten Final Four as one event, the way that Hockey East and ECAC shared the Boston Garden in the mid-80s. (I can still see Clarkson’s Golden Knight skating alongside Rhett between the two games)

      In the end, Big Ten probably will have Joe Louis all to itself, given the proximity of Michigan and Michigan State, the same way the ECAC went wandering after BU/BC/NU/Maine et al demanded more tickets I would guess that CCHA would choose Columbus, Pittsburgh or Buffalo at the NHL arenas if they could fill it. I think the WCHA (even without Minnesota) would get Excel because the other teams will draw well. WCHA fans seem to be as rabid and travel as well as Maine fans. I say that because that I have Hockey East/ECAC experiences and cannot speak otherwise.

      As others point out, I do not see the Mad House on Madison being the Big Ten championship site. It is a huge building. Between the NCAA basketball tournaments and the pro teams, I am not sure that even a 90% full building at lower ticket prices will cut the mustard for a full weekend.

      • skeptic

        And you think the Joe would draw better than Madison? All of us have slept through numerous NCAA games at the Joe, including what sounded like a scrimmage back in 93 when MI won in overtime against Bucky. Attendance was about a thousand.

  • Anonymous

    Notre Dame and Miami would be welcome additions to Hockey East as far as I’m concerned. 22 league games (Five away 2 game series, Five home 2 game series, 1 home & home “rivalry” series….ex: Maine/UNH, BC/BU, Notre Dame/Miami). Come on Hockey East……gitter done!

    • Css228

      I think a preferable result is to reform the old ECAC and let the teams left behind for their own conference. But that wont happen unless they’re desperate due to the BTHC taking HE recruits due to the huge spotlight. But the question is who drops out of the ECAC. Yaou cant lose the North Country. Union is a newcomer, but their rivalry with RPI is great and needs to stay. The ivies are obvious. The only obvious dump is Qpac. As for HE, that’d mean BU, BC, Maine, UNH, and either Northeastern or Vermont (unless you decide to drop Union, in which case you could take both) It would suck to leave PC out, but thats gotta happen since they haven’t been good in forever (i’d love to relive the 1979 quarterfinal in Lynah, though). Either way, this is a pipe dream scenario. Then Qpac, the remaining HE schools, and some CCHA or AHA schools could fill out the rest of that conference with the remaining schools forming another conference. Regardless, it won’t happen. But its a nice thought. CCHA is screwed though.

      • Joe C

        Hockey East and ECAC will do just fine with their current programs and bids. I suspect that UConn will be getting an invite from Hockey East, the same way that Vermont got it a few years ago. The TD Garden does well with the Beanpot and the Hockey East final four. ECAC will always be fine with the Ivy League schools and their deep pockets.

        • Css228

          I said its only going to happen if HE becomes desperate for exposure for recruiting purposes.

  • prunella

    I have a question that never seems to come up. Is it possible that because there are only 6 big ten schools with hockey, they may invite non big ten schools into their conference? I know the CCHA doesn’t have women’s hockey so Ohio State plays in another division.

    • Ring_of_Fire

      The issue is that the Big Ten has had a long standing policy of not allowing associate memberships; i.e., you can’t only be a Big Ten member in one sport. You have to be a Big Ten member in ALL sports.

      This is important for two reasons.

      1) Schools that may want to join the Big Ten Hockey Conference (say, Miami of Ohio) will likely be barred from joining because the Big Ten would have no interest in either their football or their basketball teams (the only sports that REALLY matter to the Big Ten).

      2) Schools that the Big Ten may WANT in their hockey conference (Notre Dame) won’t join because they do not want to become part of the Big Ten conference in other sports (football in the case of Notre Dame).

      • Bob

        Agreed. Unless they lift that, which I doubt they will, it’s Big Ten or bust.

    • bluetell

      For whatever reason, the Big Ten requires member schools to compete in the Big Ten for all sports. Notre Dame might join the Big Ten if they could do it for everything but football, but because they want their football independence, the Big Ten wouldn’t take them. I’m not trying to discredit what Miami has done, but they are still a MAC school and the Big Ten wouldn’t add them (or any other Michigan school). Also, I kind of think Jim Delaney secretly likes the idea of Notre Dame being without a home since they turned down the Big Ten

      • Ring_of_Fire

        Notre Dame likes “being without a home”, too.

        They get to keep all that juicy NBC TV revenue AND 100% of any bowl revenue they get.

        Trading those perks for the headaches of a Big Ten membership just to have a home for a non-revenue hockey team would seem……dumb.

        • http://twitter.com/sdl9109 Seth

          Notre Dame’s TV and Bowl contracts are far less than what every Big Ten school takes in every year. They remain independent because the outcry from the fanbase every time they think about joining a conference is too loud. At the same time, however, non-football sports are receiving a lot more interest and Notre Dame’s special status in the football postseason is not secure as they have not had a lot of on-field success in recent years and the only conference that really profits from it is the Big East. Thus, there are no financial perks for Notre Dame to remain independent and significant pressures to join the Big Ten.

          • Ring_of_Fire

            Kind of…..

            If you look at disclosed contract dollars, Notre Dame does get less per game than the Big Ten schools get, but what’s NOT calculated is all of the “promotional consideration” that ND gets from NBC advertisers as a result of the contract. It’s undisclosed, but it’s a truckload. Far more than any other school in the country gets. Does that mean they get more money from TV than, say, Ohio State? Not necessarily. But it’s much closer than you seem to believe.

            As far as bowl revenue goes, my point is that ND doesn’t have to split theirs with anyone. They get all of it. Every penny. When a Big Ten school goes to a bowl game, they have to split the revenue equally with all of the other schools in the conference. If a bunch of teams in the conference make a bowl game, then that’s no problem…but if only two or three make it (unless they’re ALL BCS teams) then there’s just no way each school in a twelve team league would get as much as Notre Dame would. It’s simple math.

            Anyway. There are definitely financial perks to staying independent. Plus, yes, there is booster and alumni pressure to do so.

            (Oh…the football postseason thing you’re referring to is the whole “BCS eligible if ranked in the top 12 – BCS automatic if ranked in the top 8″ thing. This is part of the BCS language. It won’t change until the BCS goes bye-bye. It may be unfair, but college football KNOWS that catering to Notre Dame helps it as a whole, because interest is higher and ratings are better when Notre Dame is playing in a bowl game. Also, I’m not sure why you think this helps the Big East???)

          • http://twitter.com/sdl9109 Seth

            First of all, the Big Ten has gotten at least two BCS bids every year since the BCS expanded to include five games. Second of all, the Big Ten conference championship game will pay out just under $2 million per team per year. Combined with a wealth of top-grade bowl games on New Years’ Day, Notre Dame’s financial gains from bowl games does not come close to the Big Ten schools’ revenue from bowl games and a championship game. Especially when you consider that Notre Dame is tied in a deal with the Big East bowl bids, meaning that should they fail to crack the top 12 in the BCS, they are relegated to a weaker bowl with a smaller payout than the Big Ten bowls. And yes, Notre Dame might make more than the Big Ten schools if only 2-3 Big Ten schools make it to bowl games. But that will never happen, so it doesn’t really matter.

            Furthermore, the BCS language can be changed at the review period (there’s one coming up) if the major conferences can come to a consensus on a language change. Notre Dame has no voting rights here. The only pushback would come from the BCS bowls themselves, who want Notre Dame as a selectable option. However, as things stand, the BCS bowls have no leverage over the major conferences whatsoever.

    • Khryx

      I know people are mentioning the sports requirements for the Big 10 but there are some educational requirements and associated memberships as well (research being a HUGE one). The best bet for a 7th team in BTHC would most likely be Illinois jumping back up (no idea what their club team is like) or something being worked out with UNO. I haven’t done the research but I don’t think UNO would count like UNL (Nebrasks-Lincoln).

      • http://twitter.com/sdl9109 Seth

        UNO cannot receive an invite. While part of the public university system in Nebraska, Nebraska-Omaha is a separate administrative entity from Nebraska-Lincoln, both academically and athletically.

        • Khryx

          Yeah I don’t have the proof so I didn’t want to say it for certain. I figure that UN-Omaha is like UM-Dearborn.

      • Ring_of_Fire

        Illinois’ club team is good and well followed. Their facility, however, is horrendous. It would take a Penn-Stat-ian type of contribution to get them up to D-1 status. More, actually, because the school has no-where near the level of institutional commitment to hockey that Penn State does/did.

  • Bi6TenBadger

    Why would Miami andor Notre Dame want to leave a conference where they would be the clear cut favorites every year? If you’re asumming they’d leave to have a stronger schedule, they will now have more non conference games to fill.
    As for keeping super conferences alive, how does that allow new programs to start? Let’s say USC, Iowa, and Duke all want a college hockey program. Where do you fit them in? Nowhere. There’s no room in th current format for development across the country.
    The Big Ten Hockey Conference might not sound great at first, but think about it and it you’ll realize its going to be a great thing. Its going to change college hockey and hockey in the USA for the better.

    • collegehockeyfan

      hockey is very many years away from schools in the Pac or other ACC school farther south, a good portion of people that watch hockey in those areas(mainly NHL) Have the SLIGHTEST idea of what hockey or let alone college hockey is.

      The argument that this may happen some day is great, I like that thought actually. But going to the facts, it’s not going to happen any time soon. I see all the smaller schools dropping their hockey programs due to lack of funding before any of that happens, and well i think this is the beginning of the end of college hockey and a new beginning to the entertainment industry!

      • Nyqi

        Couldn’t agree more fan. This will do nothing to make hockey better as the smaller schools are going to get kicked in the teeth. Saying this is going to be good for hockey is like saying the BCS has been good for college football. It has been good for the BCS schools and everyone else is just left in the cold. That being said if this is the end of it and there aren’t any other BCS conf that start programs it won’t really hurt that much but my fear is that this is just the beginning. How long until the Big 10 has as much power in hockey as they do in football and they basically design a way for one of their schools to always be in the national title game? Probably won’t happen but for whatever reason the guy that runs the big 10 has more power in this country than any one person should in terms of collegiate sports. I don’t like it for that reason. But if MN and WI want to go, then let em go. WCHA will be just fine without them.

        • casualfan

          “just fine,” sure. better off, not a chance. just no way a conference loses two programs of the caliber of UW and MN and somehow that’s a plus.

          • collegehockeyfan

            he’s not saying it’s a plus, but the WCHA still has a few good fan bases, namely UND, UMD, DU and I’ll even throw in SCSU. It will not be the same without the rivalries that the UofM and Wisco bring to the table with other WCHA teams, but that’s their loss as well.

            After they leave, we will soon find that the WCHA will be lop sided. There will be a distinguished top and botttom to the conference.

            The larger concern for Nyqi is the smaller schools. How long until the Big 10 has a guaranteed bid to the National title just because they are the Big 10 and they make money.

          • Anonymous

            Big Ten gets an automatic NCAA berth immediately, a bye to the title game will have to wait.

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com/ Goon

      Because they could play tougher teams… strenght of schedule…

    • boko

      “Why would Miami andor Notre Dame want to leave a conference where they would be the clear cut favorites every year?” was your question.

      The answer is recruiting. Those programs will want to maintain an attractive ‘big stage’ to continue recruiting the high level kids they are currently getting.

      Tough decisisions for those two schools but the CCHA finances will continue to decline with or without them due to the defections.

  • Big Ten Hater

    I go to the University of Rhode Island, which has one of the best club programs in the country, and this even effects us. We’re trying to go varsity and the Atlantic is the best fit, but if Miami and ND go to the WCHA and the CCHA grabs some Atlantic schools, where does that leave the non-Big 10 club teams that are trying to move up? When the football conferences were getting shuffled over the past decade I always took solace in my hockey because it didn’t matter. Now it does and I want to smack Jim Delaney with a shovel

    • bluetell

      That doesn’t make any sense. Assuming 12 team conferences are “ideal
      “, right now there are 0 WCHA spots, 1 CCHA spot and 0 Atlantic Hockey spots. By creating a Big Ten hockey conference, there will be 2 WCHA spots open, 4 CCHA spots open, 6 Big Ten spots open, and there are still 0 Atlantic Hockey spots open. So how could this possibly make it more difficult for club teams to move up?

      • Jason

        bluetell, please explain how Rhode Island would easily fit into the WCHA or CCHA. They couldn’t join the Big 10 since they aren’t a part of it in other sports. So yes, it would make things more difficult for certain club teams to move up.

        • bluetell

          what I’m saying is that turning 2 conferences into 3 is a net improvement as far as club teams moving up goes. regardless of how the conferences outside of the Big Ten shuffle, there will be open slots in several conferences. Maybe the CCHA takes a few AHA teams leaving the AHA with 8 or 9 teams. that leaves open spots for teams like URI or Rutgers. Say nothing more happens and the CCHA stays with 8 teams. That could offer an open spot to teams like Lindenwood, Ohio U, etc.

    • Pcice

      “were trying to go varsity”….really? hows that going?…what is Rhode Island doing?

      • VoiceOfReason

        I work at URI and have intimate knowledge of the program. It will not be a varsity program at any time in the foreseeable future. I’m sure all of the current club players would like to believe that hockey will be elevated to varsity status and I’m sure they also think they would actually be the players that would comprise the roster varsity team. Neither of those things is happening for a variety of reasons.

        First, in order for hockey to become a varsity program, the athletic department would have to cut an equal number of men’s athletic scholarships to be in compliance with Title 9 requirements. The only way to do that is to eliminate football, which isn’t happening (not because we are good or because people attend the games either; they don’t). Second, there is no money for a D1 Varsity Hockey Program (club team has its own issues regarding its club budget too). The University is facing a huge budget cut heading into next year and the last thing they will do is incur a hefty expense for an athletic team.

        There is a fan base for hockey here in this part of the country, but the myriad of financial and political issues involved in starting a varsity program will prevent it from happening.

  • Kuhn&Friends

    I love how the Big Ten announces this as they have only one team in the national tourney, and even the mighty U of M couldn’t beat the “small school” (Western Michigan) and clearly at the Joe WMU had more students there than U of M and on saturday probably had the most fans there. In my opinion this seems to be an escape route for these big ten schools, as they do not like to say they are losing to schools no one outside of college hockey has ever heard of (North Dakota, Minn-Duluth, Ferris St. WMU). I say merge the WCHA and the remainder of the CCHA and have an 18 team super-conference that would most likely field half of the 16 team national tourney every year. Leaving the Big Ten it’s one automatic qualifier. Have fun big ten, and to MSU, U of M, and OSU in true Lawson Lunatics manner….C-YA BITCHES!!!

    • streaker

      Ignorance is bliss, isn’t it.

      • Anonymous

        Amen!

    • Anonymous

      Finally good hockey in Kzoo…that would be 1 good year out of how many in the past and listen to the trash talk from the Broncos. Can’t wait for Chips to show up again with our football team!

      • Kuuuuhhhhnnnn

        Hey Chip fan – Your gonna have a loooooong wait – Nice football and basketball seasons at cmu this past year… It’s over Johnny !

        • Harrischips

          Can’t argue that Bronco boy! Somehow we just made this a MAC pissing match between Chips and Broncos on a hockey website. I am just jealous that CMU never had a D1 Varsity hockey team and you guys did. Seriously, congrats to your Broncos and Lawson Lunatics for a great season. I maybe a Michigan hockey fan but it was great to see good hockey played in Kzoo. The WMU fans deserved it. Good luck to your boyz in the NCAAs!!! I like your new coach too. Making all the difference.
          Now back to that pissin match, we could still set a couch on fire faster than you guys after the Western/Central football game!!!

    • JT

      Please the Big 10 is going to be the best conference in hockey in a few short years after it gets going for a bit.

      The Big Ten Network which is already a cash cow will probably land these programs a million or two dollars more with hockey being added to the docket and this conference.

      The major legup though is the fact that this conference will play in front of nationally televised audiences on a weekly basis, can any other conference say that. 73 million people will be able to watch these teams play and that will make the sport much more popular but also will draw recruits in from all over as now a kid can get much more national recognition

      • B.D.

        Yeah, but those audiences do not VALUE the sport and thus will not watch.

      • Eric A

        Even if this Pig Ten actually suceeds as a league, its gonna be like Slap Shot 3. Disney on Ice.

  • http://twitter.com/jdahline Jim Dahline

    I would hate the WCHA Final Five format to go back to the old format. Hated the 3rd place game, and there is no place in conference tournaments for a 3rd place game. I’m sure the WCHA would welcome Western Michigan and Lake Superior or Alaska into our conference.

  • hockeyfan

    The WCHA Final Five is the best hockey tournament in the country, probably better than the NCAA. It’s extremely unfortunate that Minnesota and Wisconsin will leave the great rivalry of the WCHA to play teams with which they have little in common. Let’s face it, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State are football schools; they don’t appreciate hockey like those in the WCHA. As for the Big Ten Tournament, it should be in St. Paul; anywhere else there will be no draw. I think this conference is a horrible idea.

    • Bob

      I’m not sure why you’d lump Michigan and MSU together with O$U and Penn State. 12 national titles between the two schools and great fan bases that do appreciate hockey would say otherwise.

    • Josh

      You’ve obviously never been to a game at Yost. While the majority of the Michigan campus may be more focused on football and basketball, there are thousands of students and other fans (myself included) that pack the old barn every weekend and make it an amazing experience. Michigan fans care about hockey. MSU fans care about hockey. OSU and PSU, I don’t know, but please don’t discredit southern Michigan’s hockey fan base. They call it hockeytown for a reason.

      • CCHA_Fan

        yeah, they call Detroit “Hockeytown”. Last time I checked, ann arbor was an entirely different city

        • Josh

          True, but the post I was replying to seemed to be taking a shot at hockey fans in the entire region. All I’m saying is the guys up in the northwest shouldn’t just automatically assume that hockey means nothing here. I’m not saying its the most popular sport by any means, but I am saying that the fan base it does have is widespread, passionate, and devoted.

          Also, I’m not sure where “hockeyfan” gets off saying Wisconsin is any different than Michigan or MSU in that regard. Football and basketball dominate the sports landscape there just as much as they do here (I’m not even sure Minnesota is all that different).

      • Tricky

        Sorry, Hockeytown is what we call Warroad, MN. No offense to Detroit, but Warroad had the moniker long before Detroit.

        • B.D.

          Yeah, the fight between Warroad and Roseau is legendary…..

    • TJ

      I don’t think this conference is a bad idea and here’s why…it’ll open up College Hockey immensely. The reason this sport is not mainstream is because nobody has a clue what the WCHA or CCHA is unless they really follow the sport, however 10 ppl out of 10 on street know what the Big 10 is. The Big 10 has the power to market their conference far greater than any other conference so I do think this is a good setup for college hockey

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_A6MVLJ7YGE6FYHXIUPLNUS4H6Q Jayme Johnson

    I think this will ultimately kill the CCHA. Miami and ND only hope for survival is to join the WCHA or Hockey East. I know it’s big money, but it’s either that or fold. Best case would be both move to Big Ten in hockey only.

    • Anonymous

      I agree ND and Miami should got to the WCHA. I don’t see them joining the Big 10 for hockey. This is all about the Big10 network and I don’t see the Big 10 sharing the TV money. Michigan and MSU left the WCHA to save money on travel to Denver and CC. Notre Dame can afford the travel budget, I only hope Miami can or it will wither away.

  • Ct

    You can’t put a conference tournament in a city that doesn’t have college hockey and expect a decent turnout. It’s that simple.

    • B.D.

      Concur. THe locals don’t attend in any numbers and you are stuck with those who are forced to travel, usually great distances to attend.

  • Fauxrealism

    Last time I was at a QU game I noticed that they hang the QU banner from the rafters between the Harvard and Yale banners. No way the President of QU approves a league switch.

  • #1siouxfan

    i have to say this is going to be an embarassment for the big ten it is kind of funny because this might actually make the wcha better since u r eliminating the gophers they will miss wisconsin though. I also am kind mad at this because they will be ruining the best rivalry in college hockey (UND vs UM). the big ten will make a little money off of it but i dont think it will be worth the embarassment

    • guest 11

      Typical Sioux Fan: Never lets the facts get in the way of his opinions. Gophers have the the third most WCHA regular season titles (12 – 3 behind UND and 1 behind DU) and second most WCHA tourney titles (14 – 1 behind DU and 4 more than the Sioux). Yup, I’d say the Gophers have been one heck of a drag on the WCHA over the years (for the record, Bucky has a whole 3 regular season titles and 11 tourney titles). Have the Gophers been down the past few years? Sure. Pretty sure they were down in the late ’90′s too. They rebounded pretty nicely from that in the early 2000′s. Has UND been down in the past too? Yup, unless you ask a Sioux fan (no WCHA or NCAA titles from 1987-88 through 1995-96).

    • Geno

      In a bad year for the gophers they still finished 5th in the wcha….ahead of Wisconsin who finished 7th. The wcha WILL miss Minnesota

  • Tb111960

    Combine the WCHA and the CCHA and have two divisions. Shut out the Pig Ten when it comes to scheduling and let them try to fill out their own schedule. There would be no doubt that the dominant college hockey league would be this new league and the Pig Ten can go pound sand with their 6 team league that nobody will care about.

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com/ Goon

      I think it would be a good idean they tell the Big Ten to go pound sand.

    • Bruce

      If they would abandon the Alaska schools like the Big Ten has done, there could be two 8 team divisions with reasonable travel costs:
      North = Bemidji State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State, North Dakota, Northern Michigan, St. Cloud State
      South = Bowling Green, Colorado College, Denver, Ferris State, Miami, Nebraska-Omaha, Notre Dame, Western Michigan

    • Anonymous

      It was inevitable this would happen when Penn St announced its plan for D1 Varsity hockey. Huge Michigan fan/CCHA fan/college hockey fan as well. Also have tremendous respect for the other conferences and their teams. One thing about college hockey that always drawn me to it is the small school vs the big school. Nothing like being at FSU when Michigan comes to Big Rapids…big arrogant Maize and Blue not well liked in Big Rapids…and I would not want that to ever go away. Just an example same goes for MN or Wiscy going to Houghton and not getting the “love” from Tech/Copper Country fans. I image when BC visits Merrimack same thing. Anyway thoughts about conference realignments and the fact that Big 10 will get its way and I am very sad about it. Understand the $$$$ behind it, the conference taking care of their own but do not like seeing traditions of WCHA and CCHA go away.

      1) Swap UA Fairbanks with MTU. Never understood this concept in the first place. UAF and UAA in the WCHA, great interstate WCHA rival to already great rivalry plus less travel involved for the most part. MTU has great instate/Upper Pennisula rivals already with NMU and LSSU now they become CCHA rivals as well which was once the way it was back in the day. Other GLIAC brother is Ferris St as well. Less travel is plus and maybe this would revitalize a once great hockey program in Houghton, MI.
      2)Move AFA to WCHA and create some further great hockey traditions/rivalrys in the state of Colorado. Last time I checked Colorado Springs in not really close to the Atlantic Ocean. Once again less travel eventhough I realize that is not a problem for AFA…just hook on the next C-130 to East Coast good to go.
      3)Alabama Huntsville to CCHA. Is the CCHA or college hockey really going to watch this program die on the vine or go DIII? If AFA moved to WCHA which is very logical why not have Atlantic Hockey pick up UAH? How nice for CCHA or AH teams to spend a little time in Deep South during the winter months. UAH fans call it redneck hockey! I see it as another way to spread D1 college hockey into an untapped market.

      Just hope Big 10 teams will not forget where they came from and schedule their long time old conference foes either big or small. This also means traveling to Big Rapids, The Soo, or Bemidji or St Cloud or Mankato or Fairbanks and Anchorage.

    • gary

      That’s the best idea I’ve read yet in all these responses to the pig ten
      conference. Just think, with twenty good hockey teams combined together that would encompass every team west of the Mississippi plus all non-pig
      ten teams from Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio (plus AFA) they would
      create more clout then the pig ten could imagine. The two Alaska teams
      could be in the same division. Just think of the travel savings there with a
      home and an away series together. UAH could join too! Here is how the
      divisions could look. West Div: UA, UAA, UND, UNO, CC, DU, AFA, Bemidji,
      SCS, Mankato. East Div: UMD, NMU, LSSU, Ferris, WMU, Bowling Green,
      ND (if they stay), Miami, UAH, MTU. Let the pig ten play each other and live
      with it.

      • Asra

        Travel savings by staying in Alaska?? The other WCHA teams foot the bill for Anchorage to travel down and play them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3MCBSEAUZLLYOVVDPD7SWH6BNI Todd Maz

    The Big10 Hockey Conference is a nice step for division 1 college hockey! Many years ago, when Michigan, MSU, Minnesota and Wisconsin were all a part of the WCHA, Mich and MSU made the jump to the CCHA to help give that conference some backbone. HE and the WCHA teamed up for several years to strengthen HE which worked out splendidly! Now that both the CCHA and the WCHA are well established, neither conference will suffer from the loss by the creation of the Big10 Hockey Conference. Neither should anyway with leadership and management. Make no mistake, the WCHA has always been the stronget D1 college hockey conference and they will continue to be the strongest even without Minne and Wisc. In addition to the Big10, college hockey should be looking at expansion through other conferences such as the Big Sky and the Pac10. It will not happen overnight but the seeds need to be planted… Reasonable and sustainable growth. It can and given the opportunity, it will happen…

    • Anonymous

      The beauty of college hockey is small schools like North Dakota or New Hampshire can not only compete with Michigan, Wisconsin and Boston College, but kick their butt. With Title 9 restrictions, I don’t see Pac 10 or Big East creating hockey programs without major donations like Penn State. Maybe 20 years from now we will see these changes, but short term I don’t like this Big 10 hockey idea.

      • Styles9002

        Approximate Current Undergraduate Enrollments Figures:

        Boston College 9,099
        North Dakota: 11,139
        UNH: 14,469
        Michigan (Ann Arbor): 26,000
        Wisconsin (Madison): 29,000

        Additionally, BC has much more stringent academics than either UNH or UND. So, perhaps your question should be how can a small school like BC compete with Michigan and Wisconsin?

        • B.D.

          I am unclear as to your point.
          Are you saying that a larger population base insures success?

          • Styles9002

            Clearly, you have missed the critical issue of my brief statement. I will make it more explicit for you here: enrollment has little, if any, correlation to success in college hockey. These data I supplied support the fact that Boston College, despite a much smaller enrollment than North Dakota, New Hampshire, Michigan and Wisconsin, has consistently out-performed these other fine programs over the past decade in all meaningful metrics.

          • B.D.

            Okay, got the thesis statement now and agree.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HVM5QWREKL5ZTSPY6HF2V2UPO4 Neil

    Would be interesting to see some of these smaller schools drop their other sports in favor of becoming a hockey powerhouse. The Ferris St., LSSU, NMU, MTU,could do away with their football, etc..as long as they could find the coaching and talent they need…and slowly build…LSSU /Jeff Jackson. One thing is for sure is that as “good” as we all like to believe college hockey…there is more proven talent in the OHL, WHL and QMJHL. If schools can attract the attention of those players it might make smalller programs successful. The Miami Redhawks only have 2 Canadian players on their roster…same with U of M, that tells me they aren’t really recruiting elsewhere…or there is reallly that much American talent. I think this move may shift hockey in the same direction as basketball..small schools like Duke being powerhouses. This season in the CCHA those big ten schools took a pounding..who says it might not be more of the same.

    • Khryx

      Actually U of M (University of Michigan) has 4 Canadian born players and 1 Swedish player while Miami has 2 Canadian players and 1 Dutchman. Just wanted to point out that they recruit outside of the area more than you might think.

    • denveh

      I think this has more to do with improved American talent than failure to attract Canadians. DU used to almost only have Canadians and now has more Coloradans than either Canadians or Minnesotans (by a lot). That was simply unheard-of in the past.

      • B.D.

        Agree with you on the nature of the American Talent.
        Similarly North Dakota has been growing its own homegrown program in Grand Forks/Fargo for many years and it is now coming to fruition.

        I recall in the 1970′s/80′s how having an actual North Dakotan on the team was a bit of a rarity, but not so anymore.

    • Anonymous

      Only way LSSU or NMU hockey survives is to drop football. UNO plans on doing just that.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3MCBSEAUZLLYOVVDPD7SWH6BNI Todd Maz

    Big10 Hockey Conference tournament? Detroit, Michigan and St. Paul, Minnesota are the most practical. I think secondly they try Columbus, Ohio and or Madison, Wisconsin or Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Maybe Chicago but keep the playoffs closer to home…

    WCHA conference tournament? Denver, Colorado, Grand Forks, North Dakota and Omaha, Nebraska are the first cities that come to mind… They have the largest arena’s and a good college hockey following.

    • Joe C

      The Big Ten is in love with having events in Indianapolis, which is the geographic center of the conference and, if I remember correctly, the conference headquarters.

      The Big Ten football championship game will probably be in Lucas Oil standard. They just had the Big Ten Basketball tournament in Indianapolis (as opposed to the United Center, which is bigger)

      • Anonymous

        Big Ten HQ is in Chicago. Football championship to play in Indy for the first one. They’re still meeting to figure out locations after the first one. Basketball has been in Indy for a number of years.

        I’d support having hockey championship at member school arenas… at least initially. But if not that, than rotate between Minneapolis, Detroit, and Chicago for a couple of years to see what works the best.

  • Khryx

    Question 1: Games played in 2010
    Wisconsin 38 regular season
    Michigan 36 regular season
    Michigan St. 36 regular season
    Minnesota 34 regular season
    Assuming everyone played as many as Wisconsin, I think this could resolve the away game non-conference issue that Todd has raised. However this is a lot of games and requires a lot of planning.

  • Anonymous

    UConn would fit just fine in HEA as a large school with lots of viewership potential, and I have a feeling they would LOVE to have a rejuvenated Bentley in there. (It’s like a 30 minute drive to Boston, Mack, and Lowell).

    Honestly though, as a season ticket holder in HEA, I have no problems with the 10 team, 3 conference game schedule. Though the Beanpot teams may disagree.

    • David

      UConn doesn’t give scholarships. They would never win a game in HE.

  • Benny

    As I read on another blog, in the Big Ten, as hard as it is to say, Hockey is 3rd fiddle in Big Ten schools, behind Football and Basketball, despite how successful a Hockey Program may or may not be. Now a Big Ten Hockey Conference with just 6 teams, who in the Big Ten will be running this? And will Hockey be treated as 3rd Fiddle behind Football and Basketball, when it comes to decision making, scheduling, tournaments,etc? (maybe even 4th behind Women’s basketball too).

    As other conferences adjust, (maybe grow), and teams shift around, all around them, the Big Ten will be locked into a 6 team league for the unforeseeable future, stagnant and unable to grow or expand. And probably treated as a 2nd class citizens by the Big Ten Hierarchy. It would be years before any other Big Ten school adds the expensive sport of Hockey, and if they do, it will be years before they will be competitive.

    The WCHA and CCHA are Hockey Conferences run by Hockey People, concerned about Hockey. Can the same be said about the BigTen? Again who will be running it, and who do they answer to? Probably non-hockey people in the Big Ten, because they are concerned about Football and Basketball. And the Big Ten Hockey Teams will suffer, stuck in a 6 team conference, unable to grow, and run by a conference where Football and Basketball are Kings..

  • Paul

    First Jim Delaney gives away our football rivalries in Iowa and Minnesota. Now he wants to dump our hockey rivals, too. Any Barry just sits around and smiles. Can’t we just have a Big Ten Hockey Tournament sometime during the year and leave it at that and stay in the WCHA?

  • GopherFan83

    The Big Ten Hockey Conference will not affect the east coast schools, and will have a negligible affect on the WCHA and CCHA. The WCHA will be strong with ten teams, and Minnesota and Wisconsin will still play most WCHA teams at least once a year, probably alternating years for home series or in Minnesota’s case, doing home-and-home’s with UMD, SCSU, and Mankato.
    Denver and CC have strong hockey programs that will not suffer from Minnesota and Wisconsin leaving. I would guess that they’d fly to Colorado once a year or every other year to play both teams.
    The CCHA will be more competitive, could lead to a school like Notre Dame becoming a hockey powerhouse, which would be good for college hockey. Similar to the WCHA, the remaining CCHA teams will still play Michigan, MSU, and OSU almost as much as they do now.
    The Big Ten adding hockey has spurred interest from other Big Ten schools in adding programs. I don’t think anyone sees a problem with more Division 1 programs. Eventually the conference landscapes could shift if schools like USC, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, and Texas add programs, but they will grow the sport, not detract from established programs.

    • Gfkbob

      Do you seriously think Notre Dame is going to remain in the CCHA after the other “big schools” leave. Your dreaming!

    • Ring_of_Fire

      Wrong.

      With the rodent schools leaving, the WCHA loses its flagship television market (Minneapolis), it’s two largest member institutions, and a great deal of clout on the national stage. Additionally, with the BTHC’s scheduling demands, Minny and Wisco will not be free to schedule all of these crazy out-of-conference games you’re suggesting. All of the remaining schools will lose big attendance weekends and North Dakota will lose Minnesota as a conference rival (yes, they’ll still play, but it won’t have anywhere NEAR the meaning). The effects, my friend, will not be “negligible”.

      More troubling is the fact that the CCHA’s reign as a “power conference” will not survive the loss of Michigan and Michigan State. Notre Dame, with all of the money it has invested in its program in recent years, will not be content to play in a watered-down version of the CCHA and is likely to bolt to the WCHA as soon as the paperwork can be drawn up…leaving Miami as the flagship program of the conference. However, it will be a conference of small schools with small budgets. It will be Atlantic Hockey…but in the Midwest.

      This is greed on the part of the Big Ten. Pure, simple greed. Penn State could have joined the CCHA and made it a 12 team league again, keeping the rest of the college hockey landscape intact. Instead, the Big Ten had to flex its network muscle in the name of having something to show on TV on Friday nights and, in the process, destroy one hockey league and seriously weaken another.

      No. Really. Good job, Big Ten. Way to do what’s best for college sports.

      • Harrischips

        Good points and I was hoping for the same, PSU to CCHA, make it 12 teams keep conferences intact. Why there could not be some kind of compromise with BTN and have a few Big 10 showcases just like Mich/MSU vs Minn/Wisc does each year early in the season. When will ND new arena be built/finished?

        • KzooHockeyMom

          Scheduled to open with a game on October 12, 2011. Too bad it’s a day late and a dollar short with everything going on now. Agree with Ring of Fire – ND won’t want to stay in a watered down version of the CCHA. Even if CCHA does well in playoffs – without UM and MSU, it will no longer be a strong, contending conference. OSU is not a factor, as far as I’m concerned.
          And for UND, not having UM and UW-Madison – their rivalries will certainly be less. It is a sad day for college hockey. Sorry, I don’t buy the line that it will make college hockey stronger – it will feed the bigger wolves and allow the smaller schools to fall through the cracks. Greed sucks.

      • Joe

        You hit the nail on the head. This is not about giving a rats a$$ about college hockey. Its is all about dollars, and having something to put on their network. Thanks BIG 10! Thanks Penn State! I really hope you all fall on your faces!

  • Gophers4Life

    this is why Minnesota didn’t want the Big Ten hockey conference to come into existence, because of the problems it raises. Wisconsin has wanted it for years and Minnesota kept saying no, even a couple months ago they opposed it. I guess the money was just to good for them to pass up

    • Ring_of_Fire

      They don’t have a choice. Once the Big Ten said, “go”, Minnesota had to join in hockey or drop in everything…and they can’t afford to do that.

      The Big Ten has an “all or nothing” policy. If you want to be in the Big Ten, you’re join in ALL sports….or you don’t join. There is no middle ground and there are no associate memberships.

      Minny has to put the best face possible on this, but internally, I’d imagine some teeth are gnashing.

  • TerrierFan

    This article’s suggestion that Notre Dame and Miami joining Hockey East is ridiculous. Hockey East is perfectly content being a New England conference. Miami, and especially Notre Dame, are too far away.

  • Oshie’s Jock

    This might allow North Dakota State or UM-Moorhead to add a hockey program. Fargo has this big new arena being used by a mere junior team. They weren’t ready during the WCHA expansion in the last few years. By 2013, they might be. The Gophers and the Sioux will be sorry if they don’t continue their rivalry. Yeah, I always hear from the media that the UW and UM rivalry is soooo intense. I’ve seen their games and they don’t hold a candle to the pure hate that the Sioux and Gophers save for each other. College hockey will really be missing its greatest rivalry if UM allows those games to become rare.

    • B.D.

      Could happen but will take a few years to properly gel.

  • Yer Killing Me Smalls

    I read these posts. While I appreciate the passion of the fanbases and enjoyment of college hockey, I feel that people are missing the point of what’s going on here – Schools with BCS money vs. Schools without BCS money.

    It is college hockey, but the programs that are part of the BCS conferences, and major Division One schools have more money to spend. I read all these things about “travel expenses” and “not having the money” etc. etc. What people do not realize is that the TV contracts negotiated by conferences and the money of college bowl games and college basketball games are parceled out to each school in a conference equally (or Notre Dame from NBC) and that money does not just go to fund the football and basketball teams. That money funds most of the athletic department activities at each institution.

    Michigan can finish 1-11 in football and get the same amount of money as an undefeated Ohio State. That’s how the contracts are negotiated. “Travel Costs” are incredibly miniscule!

    Case in point – When Boston College left the Big East to go to the ACC what happened? Why they currently make 30-40% more money a year as an athletic program despite increased “travel costs.”

    A Big 10 hockey conference will get revenue from the Big Ten Network. Not only that, but it will encourage other Big Ten schools to make a jump to Division I hockey – because instead of trying to fit into the WCHA, or CCHA, and make things unbalanced they now have a soft landing spot.

    I predict that before the start of the 2013-2014 season two more Big Ten schools will announce plans to join the conference and add hockey as a Varsity sport.

    Notre Dame will make overtures at joining the Big Ten Conference in hockey because they have more in common with the Big Ten schools than they do with the CCHA members, and who says that because they’re not “in every Big Ten Sport” they cannot be allowed to join? If the money is there (and it will be) the Big Ten Conference would greedily pick up Notre Dame for hockey even on a temporary basis to fill out the conference and numbers. Or is there some rule that Providence and UConn have to be in the same conference? Northeastern broke from the America East yet is still in Hockey East, but speaking of that conference:

    Which team in the past decade has had a meteoric rise from there? Which just happens to coincide with the big contracts in football and basketball? So the one school that has the athletic resources that double the rest of the conference just happens to be winning conference and National Titles?

    The pattern is in the data children. The Big Ten knows what it’s doing. It will be unwieldy at first but expect the conference to grow in leaps and bounds.

    Why? Because throwing 15% of it’s BCS revenue at hockey is still more money than a non-BCS school throwing half it’s budget at hockey. Just more cash to play with. Depending on the deal with the BTN – attendance figures and money could just be icing on an already fattened and iced cake.

    • Ring_of_Fire

      Though well written and eloquent, your post strikes me as not being very well thought out at all.

      I point to the following issues:

      1) Your assumption that the Big Ten will take Notre Dame if it doesn’t bring its football team or its basketball team.

      Big Ten bylaws specifically prohibit associate memberships. If you want to be a Big Ten member, you have to join in all sports the conference sponsors.

      Now, would they make an exception for Notre Dame? Possibly. But for a non-revenue sport like hockey? Unlikely. While Jim Deleany is president? No freaking way. He still hates Notre Dame for publicly embarrassing him and the conference in the late 90s when he all but promised The Irish’s delivery into the Big Ten.

      If Notre Dame goes anywhere, it will be to the WCHA. That way it can keep its football independence and its basketball affiliation with the Big East…which is, incidentally, a better top-to-bottom hoops conference than the Big Ten.

      2) Your assumption that other schools in the Big Ten will be clamoring to sign up for new hockey programs.

      Hockey is ungodly expensive, particularly on the Division I level. Penn State needed an $88,000,000 donation to get it off the ground, and that was with an incredibly high amount of institutional support and a great club team. Other Big Ten schools don’t have either. The closest two are Illinois and Indiana…but both have their issues. Illinois’ club team is good, but their facility is terrible, with no plans to build a new one. Indiana is years away on their new building…and, with budget squeezing, it is looking increasingly unlikely that it will have the capability to make ice. Iowa? Their rink is in a shopping mall for God’s sake.

      You are right about one thing though…the BTHC will have money.

    • wellduh

      Big ten schools do not throw money at Hockey. Hockey in MN is a revenue sport and is counted on to provide money for non revenue sports.

  • Da Dutch

    This is an important announcement that has nice sized implications for the Big 10.

    1. It gives them a bunch of programming for their TV network.

    2. As the AD’s noted, alums will find it more easy to follow the sport – the ones that do not, I mean.

    3. It is clear that the goal is to grow the league to at least 10 teams, and I am sure that by making the sport officially part of the conference this process is now much easier for existing member schools on a lot of levels. For example, I can see Illinois having a much easier time generating interest and $$ from alums to join the Big 10 vs. CCHA. Alums of these schools are hyper competitive and if 6 of the members have a team I am sure many of the other schools will want one too – after all, hockey is great, right?

    4. Who cares if all the other conferences have to scramble if the outcome is a more stable, sound environment? The sport is currently littered with no name schools – its only good for the sport, imo, if some larger “brands” get involved. Who knows? Maybe a stronger US college hockey could start to pull players away from Canadian juniors and to these schools – even for a time….

    • paula please quit now.

      Your “No Name Schools” that litter college hockey enjoy tremendous success. More than the schools you’d find listed as BCS or College Basketball elite. Do you follow hockey?

    • Ring_of_Fire

      1 & 2: Yep. Agreed wholeheartedly.

      3: Good luck. It will take more than the $88,000,000 Penn State got to start a program at Illinois, Indiana, or anywhere else in the Big Ten. If the appetite for that kind of fund raising is there (particularly given state higher education budgets right now), then I’d be amazed.

      4: This is the height of arrogance. Who cares if the conferences have to scramble…littered with no-name schools? Are you for real?

  • Anonymous

    Forgot to add this but Big 10 Conference Tourney in Grand Rapids, VanAndel Arena home ice to GR Griffins AHL Affliliate to Detroit Red Wings. Numerous times hosting West Regional (back in 2 region NCAA’s) and Midwest Regionals of NCAAs. Great downtown area, plenty of quality lodging, nite life, skywalk to arena from many of these locations. Gerald R Ford Airport is very accessable. Central located to all 6 schools. Realize it the advantage of UM/MSU but still more neutral than some others like St Paul or Milwaukee plus would not compete with NCAA basketball venue in Chicago. Grand Rapids would embrace this completely.

  • mdb24

    Big Ten Hockey = death of atlantic hockey, which may not be a bad thing, hear me out.
    CCHA candidates: RIT, Mercyhurst, Niagra, Robert Morse, maybe even Canisus.
    WCHA should get Air Force – they don’t belong in AH other than wanting to be in the same conference with Army, but i guess rivalvies will go out the window when NoDak and Minn are split up.
    Sacred Heart, AIC, and Bentley are at risk of losing their programs and it may not be bad thing. A decade of D-1 hockey and still no increased investment in the programs – it’s ridiculous. Invest some money or get ou tof D-1. Facilities are key, case in point, Quinnipiac.
    That leaves UConn, Holy Cross, and Army. Does Hockey East have room for UConn and HC? UConn makes sense, large new england state school. But they have to invest big time in their program and that is something the school does not appear likely to do right now. Football is a top priority, and when that program is squared away, then hockey may receive some attention. As for Holy Cross, a new building will do the program wonders and it is very necessary. Geographically the school fits. Academically and school size, it is more in line with Ivy/ECAC. The reality of HE is that the big four always find their way to the top 5 or 6. BU, BC, UNH, and Maine are always among the top. Occasionally Northeaster, Umass, UVM, (or even Merrimack), find their way to the top, but year after year, the big four find themselves with more teams behind them than in front (yes, Maine and BU have had down years). Holy Cross joining HE is a dangerous venture. If it is done, it must be done with a lot of money and full commitment of the school. Otherwise the school will be a sacrificial lamb. It will never be consistently at the top like the big 4, but the school is capable of competing if given the resources. I have doubts as to whether this will happen though – the athletic department has suspect leadership.
    That leaves Army – can they convince ECAC to go to 13? Will ECAC go to 14 and pick up URI? URI has decent facilities and may be able to raise funds to improve them. ECAC has a presence in southern New England, so this would make sense.

    Alabama-Huntsville is on the outside looking in. It is only a matter of time for that program if it remains independent.

    thoughts?

    • Styles9002

      I could see Holy Cross being invited to join Hockey East IF they wanted to go to 12 teams. This would mean they would need another invitee, perhaps UConn, which would allow HE to be remain all New England conference and minimize intra-conference travel.

      BC and the Cross are both Jesuit institutions and thus share many mutual links while Providence and Merrimack, as Catholic colleges also, would most likely support the Cross’s inclusion if HE wanted to expand. I have read 12 teams is an ideal conference size so on the surface this makes sense. Absent other information to the contrary, I think it is feasible.

  • Charlie Katzman

    like the ccha-wcha super conference, opens up another at large tourney bid as well

  • Follow the Cash Flow

    “Big programs like Wisconsin and Minnesota need to have 20 home games per season to make the financials work.” – Todd D. Milewski • Executive Editor, USCHO • Monday, March 21, 2011

    Really! I guess lesser programs should lose money! Makes me think they’ll need to take their talents to $outh Beach.

  • Puck169

    Which Big Ten schools will add women’s hockey so there can be Big Ten women’s hockey too?

    Will Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State start playing real hockey instead of clutch-and-grab-hook-and-hold CCHA hockey?

    Will the Big Ten inherit the horrible CCHA referees?

  • Gophers4Life

    haha wow, some of you are really pissed off these teams are leaving. Minnesota didn’t want to leave at all, i even have a personal e-mail from their athletic director to me saying that, it says that with 6 teams from the Big Ten conference they are required to do it if the Big Ten wants to since they are a member of the conference. He told me that Minnesota is actually going to lose money doing this but there’s nothing that he can do about it. If you want to blame anyone blame Barry Alvarez (Wisco’s AD, and Terry Pegula, Sabres owner and man who gave the donation to Penn State). Alvarez has been trying his hardest to get a BTHC for a long time and Pegula gave the donation so the same thing could happen. It is sad for us Minnesota fans as well, none of us want this to happen, and to say its a weak conference is wrong, its a small conference for sure, but in the last 12 years 4 Big Ten schools have won 5 National Titles. That’s more than any other conference if you take the Big Ten ones from their current conferences. the other 2 teams, Ohio State just doesn’t care about hockey and Penn State is a new program that will still be better than Michigan Tech.

    I don’t want this to happen but it’s going to, and the rivalries will continue. I’m not sure about MN and NoDak since MN can’t play native american named opponents outside of conference play, but the rest will continue and in 10 years this will all seem normal. Notice most of the fans pissed off on here are NoDak fans because they know without having that Minnesota game the season isn’t the same for them, they will lose that happiness during the regular season. For Minnesota it sucks but its not a big deal since they had so many huge rivals from the state of MN.

    Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Northwestern all want to add DI hockey, whether they can afford it or not is the question. So this move could add more teams to college hockey which is always a plus

    • turn about fair play

      I would disagree with Barry Alvarez comment. As a season ticket holder for 3 Badger sports Barry doesn’t give a poo about the hockey program. His baby is football and B-ball rains in the cash. He has alienated hockey fans and hockey alumni for years.

      This conference has started to grow on me. Big time television exposure nationwide. What a recruiting tool. “hey son you want to play at North Dakota? yea middle of nowhere or for a Big Ten school that on TV all the time? No brainer!

      • B.D.

        Actually, it has been “Hey kid, wanna play at UND where you will be scouted more than any other school and will be trained to play as a pro? Or would you rather go to a big impersonal school that will not allow you the best chance?”

        The kids are voting – with their feet…
        Note the following list of young men who have committed to attending UND and playing for the Sioux (hat tip to Brad Elliott Schlossman of the GF Herald.

        Committed recruits
        Brendan O’Donnell, F
        Mike Parks, F
        Colten St. Clair, F
        Mark MacMillan, F
        Rocco Grimaldi, F
        J.T. Miller, F
        Jack Rowe, F
        Miles Koules, F
        Stefan Matteau, F
        Nick Mattson, D
        Andrew Panzarella, D
        Jordan Schmaltz, D
        Charlie Pelnik, D
        Zane Gothberg, G

        Some of these men will not be Freshmen for two years. THey are declaring themselves far earlier than I have ever seen just to go to UND.
        Is there any other schools who will comprise the BigTen who have such a list?

        • wellduh

          Um, I’m pretty sure that every school has a list of kids who committed for the next 2 years. If you want to brag list the kids acomplishments.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501157411 Joey Loeffler Jr

          Ooh, I got one . ..
          Hey kid,
          Do you want to play in the most gorgeous hockey arena ever built in front of 10,000+ fans every weekend, while competing week in and week out with the best teams in the country. Meanwhile, you can party everyday for the first half of the season and be the biggest rockstars within 300 miles. Did I fail to mention that you WILL be in the most coveted conference tournament and you WILL be pretty much guaranteed a ticket to the big dance and you WILL be playing a style of hockey that’ll prepare you for the next level. . . .and yes you’re games are on TV (I live in Ohio and have watched 1 UND game a weekend for the majority of the year.)

    • Cmdrsils

      “I’m not sure about MN and NoDak since MN can’t play native american named opponents outside of conference play,”

      Then it’s a good thing Sue won’t be Sue anymore and this point is moot!

  • Bronco12

    I would love to see a WCHA/CCHA conference, split into two or even three divisions. (North, central, and south? Who knows.) I think this would be an excellent middle finger to the big ten, since teams like UND and Miami have proven that money can’t always buy championships. Why three divisions? It would ease up on travel budgets, and allow for more cross-division rivalries as well as out-of-conference rivals (MSU vs. WMU always packs Lawson or Munn, Michigan and Miami still have some bad blood between them, and it would be great for Minn-UND to continue.) I think an interesting tournament format would be viable, too.

    In addition, if FSNorth and FS Detroit (and other smaller networks) no longer have to pander to the pig-ten teams, they’d be better able to televise the “smaller school” games, at least that’s my guess. They have to fill the gaps that will be left when BTN takes away their golden boys.

    I think this all depends on how the individual leagues, specifically the CCHA and WCHA, handle it. I think there IS a solution that balances commercial viability with the integrity of the sport, and all the tradition and culture that nobody (who isn’t a network exec.) wants to see go away.

  • East Coast Bias

    The BIG 10 is not the worst 6-team league that could arise for the WCHA:

    A 6 team Ivy League would be arguably worse.

    A hypothetical (some realistic, most not):

    2013:
    Noticing the success and ease with which the Big 10 forms its own 6 team league from a rump of members, and recognizing that hockey is the only sport in which the Ivies participate in a league comprising schools beyond the ancient 8, the 6 hockey-playing Ivy league schools withdraw from the ECAC to play as a conference. The residual 6 teams (Colgate, Union, RPI, St. Lawrence, Clarkson and Quinnipiac) maintain the original ECAC banner. This comprises a logical conference of NY state teams plus Q-pac.

    For ease of scheduling, and to honor the historic legacy and link of the conferences, they maintain the same travel partner relationship for half the regular season, playing each member of the other conference once, then playing 2 game series within league for the last 5 weeks of the regular season. This results in 15 game league schedules in both conferences, with 6 non-conference games with legacy conference members (total 21, versus 22 ECAC league games at present).

    The schedule works as a seamless transition from the old ECAC schedule, and goes off without a hitch. 2 leagues, 2 league tourneys, 2 auto bids. The ECAC championship returns to Albany, where bragging rights to New York produces huge crowds. Going one better, the Ivy league Championship sells out Madison Square Garden (heck, if BU-Cornell can sell out, why not Harvard-Yale-Princeton-Cornell in a winner take all weekend with a NCAA berth at stake??).

    2014: A perfect storm.
    Yale once again is near the top of the PWR, as is Union. Despite a first round loss to Harvard, Dartmouth has pieced together a strong enough year to lock in at #13 in the PWR. Colgate makes another run in the ECAC, this time claiming the championship despite entering the tourney in last place, and Cornell takes the Ivy league championship in a shocker. 5 members of the old ECAC qualify for the NCAA Tourney. Half of Grand Forks presents to the ER with chest pain. Others take notice.

    Then things get crazy….

    2016: Frustrated by years of bottom dwelling performances, the periphery of Hockey East (Maine, Vermont, UMass Amherst, Providence) Plus Connecticut and Holy Cross form the New England Hockey Conference. In year one, Maine finally returns to the NCAA Tourney. Hockey East remains a powerful, 6 team Boston-centric conference (BU, BC, UNH, UM-Lowell, Merrimack, Northeastern)….

    2017: Exodus. RIT and Niagara join St. Lawrence, Clarkson, Plattsburg (moving up from D3) and Colgate to form the Southern Tier conference. RPI, Union and Quinnipiac join the three military academies (Navy adds hockey), now misnamed the ECAC. Atlantic hockey survives with 6 lousy teams, now buoyed by the widespread flexibility of scheduling on the east coast with all the small conferences (much easier to schedule out of conference with the rump conference schedules). They still get an auto bid, as do all of the 9 conferences that now comprise the NCAA (up from 5 just 4 years prior).

    2018: North Dakota loses in the WCHA quarters in a stunning upset. Despite a PWR of 9 (and a ranking of #4 in the coaches poll, and #1 among internet blog postings), the Sioux fail to get an NCAA bid. The senior senator from North Dakota holds a senate hearing…