A couple of new programs have started up in the West, and the MCHA has snagged them. Concordia (WI) and Adrian College in Michigan have added D-III hockey and both will join the MCHA next season. That means seven D-III teams, which is the magic number to apply for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Let’s look at the ramifications of that, should it happen.
- I say “should” because it’s not a done deal. The MCHA can and will apply for the automatic bid for its champion, but it’s up to the NCAA.
- An autobid would mean changes for Minnesota-Crookston, the only Division II team in the MCHA. Since leagues typically award their automatic qualifier to their playoff champ, that could mean that Crookston would be prevented from participating in the post season. But our intrepid Division III Editor, Ed Trefzger, found a mention on NCAA.com of Minnesota-Crookston requesting reclassification to Division III for the 2007-2008 season. If approved, that would give the MCHA eight Division III teams.
- An additional autobid would use up one of the two existing Pool C bids, which would obviously take a slot away from a second place finisher in the NCHA, SUNYAC, NESCAC, etc. It would also virtually award an autobid to the ECAC West, since only those teams would be eligible for the Pool B slot.
Change is constant at the D-III level. We’ll keep you posted on how this situation develops.