A Modest Proposal

It seems truly distressing to those who follow this great sport of NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey that the competition is spread so far afield, the talent pool so unnecessarily diluted, the critical issues unfairly confused.

I think everyone would agree that the prodigious number of Western teams is deplorable, a great grievance indeed, and that the person who can find a fair, cheap, and easy method of ridding NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey of the Western element would deserve to be lauded as a preserver of the game, its players, and the very nation itself.

Dropping the CCHA and WCHA would solve many problems. For starters, fans could stop arguing about whether or not Brian Gionta should win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award (unless the New Hampshire contingency pipes up about Ty Conklin, but as they are a quiet folk, this seems unlikely).

Why should fans of the game and several fine hockey programs be laid bare to so many beggars, young men who are born to parents that cannot afford their out-of-state tuition, young men who practically demand our charity?

I’ve thought long and hard about this important subject, and I have found the fair, cheap and easy method of rectifying this deplorable situation.

Dump all NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey West of the Ohio River.

Sure, on the surface the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association seem harmless enough. Six schools in both conferences have football programs large enough to support their hockey teams, and one has a self-supporting program, but what about the rest of the schools? As programs they rely on the charity of their respective leagues, and having so many programs as a whole certainly draws attention (and perhaps needed revenue) from more deserving schools whose entire athletic identity is built around this great sport.

Dropping the CCHA and WCHA would solve many problems. For starters, fans could stop arguing about whether or not Brian Gionta should win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award (unless the New Hampshire contingency pipes up about Ty Conklin, but as they are a quiet folk, this seems unlikely).

After all, Hockey East is the “Home of the Hobey.” Why confuse the issue by considering players from places difficult to locate on any decent map of New England?

Dropping the CCHA and WCHA would also solve the problem of a more uniform Division I men’s ice hockey schedule. Why should everyone East of the Ohio River be inconvenienced by the distances CCHA and WCHA teams have to travel just to play a game or two? The difficulty of playing mid-week games for those in the Western conferences should not interfere with the Eastern ideal of uniformity.

Another advantage of dropping the CCHA and WCHA is the reduction in Canadian players among the American schools. Why should we support those Canadians, anyway? Schools East of the Ohio River fill their roster with locals only, and if they do have to look further than our own blessed borders, they at least have the decency to find someone whose language is something exotic, like Slovakian or Quebecois.

Yes, the sad truth of dropping all NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey West of the Ohio River is that College Hockey America will lose all but Niagara, but that’s the cost of progress.

Of course, for some NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey fans, a retroactive drop of the CCHA and WCHA will put to rights an old wrong.

How grand it will be to exclaim, “All hail Boston College, 1998 and 2000 NCAA Champion!”

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