Five schools set to leave WCHA for new league in 2013

A new Division I men’s conference is inching closer to reality, and the WCHA stands to lose the most teams.

Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota will form a conference starting with the 2013-14 season, the Grand Forks Herald reported and USCHO has confirmed, both through sources.

An official announcement is expected Wednesday.

Notre Dame is hoping to make a decision on its future conference affiliation sometime this summer, school associate athletic director Tom Nevala told USCHO earlier this week. It could join the new league, Hockey East or the WCHA, or remain in the CCHA.

Western Michigan, which sources earlier indicated was part of the talks to form the league, is not in the confirmed group of teams as of yet.

Five of the six teams in the new league come from the WCHA, which is already losing two schools to the Big Ten when it forms in the 2013-14 season.

Sources indicated that the remaining members of the WCHA — Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State — were meeting via teleconference Thursday to discuss matters.

Miami will leave the CCHA, which is losing Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State to the Big Ten. It stands to include Alaska, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan, with the affiliations of Notre Dame and Western Michigan undecided.