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College Hockey:
Hockey East seems likely new home for Notre Dame, but who else?

The NCHC announced on Sunday that it will begin play in 2013 as an eight-team conference and, in doing so, consequently may have announced Notre Dame’s hockey future.

Last week, Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson told the South Bend Tribune that the school’s decision for a future conference was down to the NCHC and Hockey East. If that’s true, it appears that Hockey East is the intended destination for the Irish.

While the NCHC has seemingly stolen Notre Dame’s thunder of announcing its new home, it also makes for interesting debate on what, if any, team will join Notre Dame in Hockey East.

Though the league is remaining tight-lipped on anything to do with expansion, commissioner Joe Bertagna was pretty clear when I spoke with him back in the summer that if the league is to expand, it’s much more desirable to move to from 10 to 12 teams, not 11. That, though, was when rumors of Miami and Notre Dame coming to Hockey East were floating around. Miami, of course, was one of the founding members when the NCHC announced its formation this summer. So it is conceivable that Hockey East could accept Notre Dame and no one else.

But assuming Hockey East wants a partner for Notre Dame, which teams seems most likely?

Rumors are floating and the one I continue to hear most often is Rensselaer. RPI has been a long-time member of the ECAC, but might be an excellent fit for Hockey East. Geographically, RPI is within a four-hour drive of every current Hockey East team except Maine. The program under Seth Appert has been on an upswing, making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1995. That certainly has to be appealing if you’re Bertagna.

Other clubs that I have heard as potentials for Hockey East include Cornell and Quinnipiac, but neither of these teams seem as sensible for the league or the teams themselves. I can’t imagine Cornell ever breaking apart from their fellow Ivy League schools. And though Quinnipiac since its first day as a Division I program has always had the highest aspirations, it lack of a proven track record doesn’t align with the success and history of the other Hockey East teams.

There are still plenty of questions that need to be answered, but keep your ears open. Those answers seem like they will be coming very soon.

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  • confused

    …not sure what schedule you are looking at. North Dakota was definitely hosting St. Cloud last weekend, so I don’t know how the Huskies could have tied with Duluth. As for your pick for the Duluth-North Dakota series, I think you will have a hard time getting either of those right since North Dakota is at Mankato this weekend, and I am watching Duluth play at Minnesota right now…

  • correction

    Yeah, that would be right confused, if you were looking at the Men’s page instead of Women’s… check your site before you post and make yourself look stupid.

  • wow

    Of course WMU still carries “the nation’s best 13-game unbeaten streak” and “Michigan no carries” something I can probably figure out….

    This isn’t Paula’s fault. Everyone makes typos when writing. Apparently USCHO doesn’t have an editor, who would be responsible for catching the mistakes in the article that spell-check does not….

    Petty? Yes. But it is comical how poorly written these professionally-published articles usually are.

  • Paula Weston

    Dear “Wow,”

    Thank you for bringing to my attention the errors in my blog post. Seriously, I do appreciate it. You’re incorrect about your assumptions about editing; the blog posts don’t go through an editor, so I am solely responsible for the content. Columns go through an editorial process.

    Poorly written? *shrug* Your opinion and one I don’t happen to share. Hastily written? Yes, that I’ll cop to. I did proofread. The first thing you take issue with doesn’t strike me as incorrect so much as awkwardly phrased, and I am disappointed myself that it didn’t hit me as necessary for revision the first time I proofed it. The second thing is an outright typo, and my eye must have scanned right over it.

    Petty? You said it, not me.

    Thank you for reading my poorly written and clearly disappointing work at USCHO. I hope you find many things in your usual daily routine with which to find fault, and therefore enjoyment. :-D

    • wow!

      Paula,

      We go to USCHO.com because we love college hockey and there are few sites out there to follow. It is common knowledge on this site that many of us find the work sub-par. If it were of high quality, I would be inclined to pay for the premium membership. I’m certainly not going to do that when every week material is published that is full or errors.

      I don’t find pleasure in looking for mistakes, but I would never turn work into my boss that had sentences that don’t make sense, typos, and flat-out incorrect information. I guess that is my problem though, not yours.

    • wow!!!

      Paula,

      Now that you blocked me, I’ll try another route to respond to you.

      It is common knowledge here that many of us are consistently disappointed with the quality of USCHO.com these days, but there are few options for college hockey fans out there, so we endure.

      If it were high quality material, I would happily pay the premium charge for the site to support it. But I’m not going to do that when every week material is published with sentences that don’t make sense, typos, or flat-out incorrect information.

      Believe it or not, I don’t find pleasure in finding others’ mistakes. I would never turn work into my boss that hasn’t been polished. I guess that’s my problem though, not yours.

      • http://www.uscho.com/ USCHO

        Posts that include URLs are automatically held for moderation by the Disqus software to avoid spam. When you typed USCHO.com, that caused it to be held.

        It perhaps is not common knowledge, “wow!!”, that there are no full-time staffers at USCHO and all do this for not much money in addition to other work. Yet the staff here is expected to turn out the same amount of work as full-time sports writers at major papers, and does so even in the face of non-constructive criticism.

      • Paula Weston

        I didn’t block you. All I did was reply. You saw the explanation for the block below — and it came from someone else on the USCHO staff who monitors comments, not from me.

        Seriously, I do hope you find some joy this week. I’m not being facetious.

  • Guest

    Dustin Sather, not Justin Sather.

    • Paula Weston

      Thanks. Fixed. Shamed.

  • Hockey Fan

    It never ceases to amaze me that people post such rude comments. For the record, I haven’t exactly been thrilled with all of the USCHO content either, but is the appropriate and mature means of expressing your frustration to publicly ridicule someone?

  • Joe C

    Jim, RPI makes sense if the basis is geography and history. I have not heard the RPI is disappointed in the ECAC. Is Hockey East enough of a lure for RPI to lose its in state rivalries in New York State? Perhaps it is. If it is RPI, this would be a fine addition to Hockey East, although I cannot name its biggest rival in Hockey Eat at 12 teams.

    I concur that Cornell is NOT going to Hockey East in Hockey, since the Ivy League is tighter than even the Big Ten.

    I still believe there will be a push to make the 12th school UConn, based on future potential, to include television. I know that there are reservations at UConn, revolving around Title IX and scholarships. However, UConn is a nationally known athletic department and a favored school of ESPN. I expect that ESPNU would not mind having more programming with Hockey East at 12 schools with schools that equal the BTHC in hockey cachet. Finally, UConn would bring the one New England state university (with a D-I program) not currently in Hockey East.

    If it is RPI, then ECAC would be 11 schools. Would ECAC poach a school from Atlantic Hockey? Buffalo is also in play. Both RPI and UConn have local AHL arenas they could used to sponsor the Northeast Regional.

    A dark horse might be Holy Cross, adding a school in Worcester and a Catholic school to join with Providence and Merrimack.

    • BigSlapshotUniversity

      Hope everything looks something like this when the dust settles…

      Atlantic Hockey:

      American International
      Army
      Bentley
      Holy Cross
      Mercyhurst
      Sacred Heart

      Big Ten:

      Michigan
      Michigan State
      Minnesota
      Ohio State
      Penn State
      Wisconsin

      CCHA:

      Alabama-Huntsville
      Bowling Green
      Buffalo
      Canisius
      Ferris State
      Niagra
      RIT
      Robert Morris

      ECAC:

      Brown
      Clarkson
      Colgate
      Cornell
      Dartmouth
      Harvard
      Princeton
      Quinnipiac
      Rensselaer
      St Lawrence
      Union
      Yale

      Hockey East:

      Boston Coll
      Boston U
      Connecticut
      Maine
      UMass
      UMass-Lowell
      Merrimack
      New Hampshire
      Notre Dame
      Northeastern
      Providence
      Vermont

      NCHC:

      Colorado Coll
      Denver
      Miami
      Minn-Duluth
      Nebraska-Omaha
      NoDak
      St Cloud State
      Western Mich

      WCHA:

      Air Force
      Alaska
      Alaska-Anchorage
      Bemidji State
      Lake Superior State
      Michigan Tech
      Minnesota State Mankato
      Northern Michigan

      • Joe C

        I like your list but can you update now that Bowling Green joined the WCHA and CCHA is officially done? I would like to see your take.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VCPIBR5SQVNDYE4Y32Q53WTWAI Frank

    If RPI will leave from ECAC. RIT would join to 12th ECAC. That’s why CCHA wants RIT to joining their league. If RPI is staying in ECAC. Probably RIT will go to CCHA. if ECAC expansion for 13th and 14th teams. I bet or not RIT and Syrcause. We do not know what happens in near the future. For Hockey East  UCONN should be ready to join Hockey East. UCONN is big university.The world people know UCONN not Quinnipiac. It’s not fit on AHA. That AHA is lowest scholarships and small colleges. better chance UCONN is gong to H E soon. 

  • Guestofaguest2

    Any rumor about Cornell going to Hockey East was probably generated to light a fire under RPI or any other schools considering moves.  

    • Joe C

      Ivy League schools NEVER leave the Ivy League (which is ECAC for Hockey) to play someplace else in any sport.

      In fact, the Ivies have the own trophy in every sport they play, the Ivy League trophy, which, in hockey, represents the ECAC results of all the Ivy schools playing one another and excludes non-Ivy play.

      While the Big Red certainly would be a natural fit otherwise in Hockey East, one would think that Dartmouth, Harvard and Brown are much better Ivy/ECAC fits to move to Hockey East, and yet they are not going anywhere, either.

  • JamesDee

    The MTU Huskies would be an excellent travel partner for Notre Dame in Hockey East.

    They are centrally located and very easy for east teams to fly from out east. They could play Notre Dame on Friday and fly from Chicago to Houghton to play a second game against MTU.

    Plus MTU has high standards as does Notre Dame.

    So please Notre Dame take MTU Huskies with you to play in Hockey East as a travel partner for 2013-2014 season.

  • Mark

    UConn would make sense based on all of the other D1 hockey-playing public schools being in Hockey East, but I don’t see them making the move. They play in a tiny rink (1000 fewer seats than Merrimack), and I don’t think they can play hockey in Gampel Pavilion (nothing on the school’s website for it suggests it can hold a rink). Not sure they have the money, or the will to spend the money, to get up to even the current HE minimum.

    There’s also scholarship implications, as they’d need to add scholarships to be competitive in HE (currently can give 12, NCAA max is 18), which wouldn’t help with whatever concerns over Title IX they have after adding football (I’m guessing about concerns, but think adding any men’s scholarships could be difficult).

    Personally I’d like to see them make the move, but RPI is more ready to do so.

  • Jd Smid

    Rumor in Worcester Ma.has Holy Cross another Jesuit school  making 3 in division history and geography .
     Conneticut is a definite no Basketball school with no history  new program poor recruiting Big East school that might move to ACC with BC . 
    Hockey East knows that Conneticut just does not fit in a prestigous league they want Hockey schools heard  RPI was a thought .

  • drop da puck

    There will be 5 Catholic Schools when Holy Cross joins heard its a done deal waiting on Notre Dame.

  • Wspd16

    Being a University of Massachusetts hockey fan I’d love to see Notre Dame come to Hockey East.  Teams like Boston College and Boston University often fill the UMASS Mullins Center which holds just over 8300 for ice hockey.  Very large crowds often of 6000+ come in for Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.  I’m sure that Notre Dame would be a yearly sell out, and it would be an exciting new venue to travel to with their new arena being completed.  And with Providence, Merrimack, and hopefully Holy Cross it would be a great fit for all parties involved.

    • Joe C

      I have to agree with you on all of this. I sure hope that Notre Dame joins.

  • ben james

    There is no CCHA… it’s gone. RPI will not join Hockey East… They passed on two opportunities before, why now? UConn has a weak hockey history, offers no scholarships, and has poor facilities… no where near the commitment HE will be looking for. Holy Cross has an unacceptable barn as well. I disagree with Dave here… Quinnippiac makes more sense than you think… Are UMass-Lowell, UMass, or Merrimack any more distinguished on the national level?  Take your pick, your guess is as good as mine. One thing is for certain… HE will take the right team.

    • FrozenFourFan

      Ben,

      I agree with your assesment regarding the HE candidates, and I agree that Quinnippiac is a solid choice.  Not so sure I agree with the collapse of the CCHA.  I believe Bowling Green is doing everything in their power right now to protect the conference and keep from traveling to Northern MN and Alaska.  I think there are enough AHA teams that are looking to expand their scholarship numbers that would consider the move.  When you look at location, it just makes sense for those schools to band together.  Plus, somehow, someway, somebody needs to make room for Huntsville.  I’m not a fan or from there, but the demise of any hockey program is not good for college hockey in general.  The CCHA should grab four or five schools from the AHA, invite Ala-Huntsville, and talk Ferris State into returning.  Air Force should move back west and join the WCHA.  More conferences, more auto-bids, more exposure for these non-powerhouse teams=good for the sport.

    • Anonymous

      I also believe it will be Quinnipiac.  Their location is a good fit, they have had some success.

  • FrozenFourFan

    I’ll give it a try…   I think that Air Force and Ala-Huntsville are interchangable in this list, but I will try it the way I would like to see it.

    Atlantic Hockey:

    Alabama-Huntsville
    American International
    Army
    Bentley
    Canisius
    UConn
    Holy Cross
    Mercyhurst
    Niagra
    Robert Morris
    RIT
    Sacred Heart

    B1G:

    Michigan
    Mich-State
    Minnesota
    Ohio State
    Penn State
    Wisconsin

    ECAC:

    Brown
    Clarkson
    Colgate
    Cornell
    Dartmouth
    Harvard
    Princeton
    RPI
    St Lawrence
    Union
    Yale

    HE:

    Boston Coll
    Boston U
    Maine
    UMass
    UMass-Lowell
    Merrimack
    New Hampshire
    Northeastern
    Notre Dame
    Providence
    Quinnipiac
    Vermont

    NCHC:

    Colorado College
    Denver
    Miami (OH)
    Minnesota Duluth
    Nebraska-Omaha
    NoDak
    St Cloud State
    Western Michigan

    WCHA:

    Air Force
    Alaska
    Alaska-Anchorage
    Bemidji State
    Bowling Green
    Ferris State
    Lake Superior State
    Michigan Tech
    Minnesota State-Mankato
    Northern Michigan

    Wouldn’t be suprised to see some moves between AHA and ECAC also after one of the teams moves to HE…

  • ULowellChief87

    RPI, Holy Cross, UConn are three teams that would all work.  What about RIT?

  • Guest

    What did they erase all posted messages??? 

  • Ebergsven

    BSU and MTU low scoring… Hmmm. Should have been there, one wild 1st period.