Notre Dame looking at Hockey East, NCHC

According to the South Bend Tribune, Notre Dame expects to decide on its conference affiliation for the 2013-2014 season in the next couple days.

The report states the Irish’s destination will likely be Hockey East or the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, not playing as an independent, and a television deal is a major factor.

“We have great choices,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said to the paper. “Either way, we can’t go wrong.”


  1. Hockey East is the most likely league with RPI joining Notre Dame with a small league schedule and lots of room for NC games against big ten schools.

    Will this open the door for Bowling Green to join the other MAC teams in the NCHC.

    The Hockey East move would be good for college hockey and Notre Dame.

    • I sure hope so. To those that think that Notre Dame would favor NCHC because of travel, know that today Notre Dame plays in the Big East for all non-football, non-hockey sports. If they end up going to ACC for football (due to continuing realignment in football), they would still have an eastern seaboard travel. Either way, travel to New England from South Bend is not that bad, except for the LONG trips to Orono and Montpelier.

      Is it possible the ESPNU would be covering even more Hockey East matchups?

      Finally, would Notre Dame host the Northeast Regional in Chicago as part of Hockey East? Just kidding.

    • The NCHC doesn’t want Bowling Green State because BGSU isn’t considered a power in hockey. Notre Dame might go to the NCHC but BGSU won’t.

    • BG will not be joining the NH due to the recent state of the programs, due in large part the Universities misguided desire to be a football school.

      • BGSU has less of a chance then Minnesota State or Bemidji State of getting in the NCHC.  And MSU and BSU have next to no chance right now.

        • Hey Beaver,

          you don’t know hockey history…BGSU has WAY more history and prestige than Bemidjie or Mankato….1984 National Title for starters, and numerous NHL talent.  Check your facts before making bold statements.  Also, they have a ont of $$Alumni ready to swoop in if BGSU has the right situation and stability.

          • Very familiar with history Rob…   But the problem with BGSU right now is that you are quoting championships from 1984, 27+ years ago.  The reality is, the NCHC isn’t looking for possible alumni $$ in the “right” situation.  They are looking for solid ticket sales, TV contracts and current competitive programs.  Tell me honestly that BGSU fits that right now.  I know you hate to hear it, but I belive they (NCHC) won’t be interested.  I too am disappointed, as I wish BSU had a shot in as well, but alas, the almighty dollar rules here, and I do not believe they do. 

            What my comment was aimed at was, if, the NCHC had to choose between BGSU and current WCHA schools, I think they would not go with BGSU.  If you want a hockey history lesson, BSU has more national titles in NCAA hockey than any other program in the country, made a 2009 DI Frozen Four appearance, and is a program on the rise in “hockey country”.  Add to that a new arena, sell-out crowds and their location, well, you get the point.  Good luck to your program, I hope they find the right home for themselves.  I truly hope they can find a way to keep the CCHA alive.

          • Hey Rob,

            I am familiar with NCAA Hockey history.  My point is, that although BGSU won one title 27+ years ago, it does not qualify them for an elite hockey conference today.  The NCHC is looking for programs with alumni $$, but those that will have solid ticket sales, large TV contracts, and be competitive at a national level.  My belief is that Bowling Green does not meet this criteria. 

            Checking the “facts” here are some summaries about BGSU’s program…  “By late 2008 and early 2009 after years of low rankings in the CCHA and NCAA, lack of post season success, an aging arena desperate for renovations, and the program unable to recruit top prospects due to the rise of other successful programs in the CCHA and college hockey rumors that the university was investigating canceling hockey as a varsity sport in efforts to cut budget losses were confirmed as among a number of options.”


            “The Falcons haven’t had a winning season and had only a single .500 season since 1996-97”.  They last qualified for the NCAA tournament in 1990.

            and from this last season,

            “The Falcons finished the regular season 11th in the CCHA with a record of 8-24-4.”

            History lesson for you…   Bemidji State has won more National Hockey Titles than any other program in the country.  NCAA DI Tournament appearances in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010.  NCAA Frozen Four appearance and National Semifinalist in 2009.  All within ten years of becoming a DI program.  Brand new arena, sell-out crowds, better location for other NCHC schools and a spot in the middle of “hockey country.” 

            All this, and still, BSU is not what the NCHC is looking for. 

            I don’t mean to be rude, as I wish all of the schools involved in this shake-up the best possible outcome for their program.  Just not sure what BGSU would bring to the table for the NCHC and a little upset with your attack on not only BSU’s history, but your statement regarding mine.

          • If Bowling Green wants to keep playing better teams they will join the WCHA.

            If not the opening in the AHA would be fit for Bowling Green.

  2. I think this speaks volumes about the long-term prospects of Notre Dame football. Notre Dame will either remain independent in football or join the ACC. The bad blood between Notre Dame and the leadership of the Big Ten has not gone anywhere.

  3. Notre Dame should stay in the CCHA. Along with Bowling Green State, Robert Morris, Mercyhurst, Niagara, Canisius, Alabama- Huntsville and Buffalo U. An 8 team league! Notre Dame going to HE would cause realignment issues in the East too then, not just the West. Possibly an Ivy League finally??? Connecticut would go to HE too most likely. 4 AH schools going to the CCHA, AH would be down to like 7 schools and that is if Air Force stays. UMass-Lowell and Merrimack to AH so they can play with schools their own size? Army to HE?? Lots of changes coming.

    • CCHA is not stable enough or big enough to have Notre Dame be the only anchor program.

      Hockey East will easily find a 12th program if Notre Dame decides to join Hockey East. Honestly, that is probably why we have not heard anything from Notre Dame until today, to ensure that Notre Dame is coming with a 12th school. I wonder if that is UConn, in exchange for UConn and Notre Dame joining the ACC for all other sports if football realignment makes the 4 16-team conferences (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12) a reality.

      NCHC also makes sense for Notre Dame and Bowling Green is the most likely partner for that move. Bowling Green goes to NCHC with Notre Dame or goes to WCHA if Notre Dame goes to Hockey East.

      • Bowling Green State is not going to the NCHC. The NCHC does not want BGSU in their conference. The NCHC thinks its an elite conference(TBD) and they do not want a non-power small program like BGSU in their conference, MAC school or not. Notre Dame might go to the NCHC but not BGSU. BGSU prefers to stay in the CCHA. That’s why they are taking so long to make up their mind about their league. Look for the CCHA to stick around somehow.

    • Why on earth would UMass-Lowell and Merrimack ever leave Hockey East on their own? I cannot see them being pressured to leave, either. As a BU alum, I know that both schools relish the chance to beat BC, BU, UMass-Amherst and anyone else in conference. The travel for both schools is minimal, big name schools from other conferences do not mind scheduling them because they are in Hockey East, they could not recruit better in another conference, Hockey East semi-finals and finals are at the TD Garden and finally, if they wanted to host an NCAA regional, there is the Tsongas Arena.

      The last point is that Hockey East is extremely stable. The lead programs are not leaving and all programs are part of the decision making process, as far as I can tell from the outside. When UMass-Lowell and Merrimack have a good year, they have enough quality wins in conference to get an NCAA at-large bid. When a program is going through a down period (Hello Providence) the rest of the league remains supportive.

      I realize that UMass-Lowell did have trouble for a period with financing, since it is a state school and not the flagship school (UMass-Amherst), but they are still here.

  4. Hockey East would be the better fit.  Rivalry with BC.  Recent games against BU – 2 last year and 1 this year.  Easier travel to the east then Colorado and North Dakota.  ND has a huge following in NYC.  I don’t think the NCHC would have made the offer to SCSU if they thought NCHC was still an option.  The only question is who is the 12 member – UConn, RPI.  Maybe Syracuse is ready to add D1 hockey for the Men.  They already have the D1 women’s team and with all their extra ACC money they can offer hockey.  What about Army since the Big East is rumored to be recruiting them for bball and football?  Hopefully, whatever happens – someone takes in UAH if they keep their D1 program.  New CCHA – BG, RMU, NU, Canisuis, Mercyhurst, UAH with MN-Morehead and Buffalo joining within 2 years.  

    • Here is an interesting thought. If Suny-Buffalo is looking to start a program as is rumored, they would be going wherever RIT, Niagara and Mercyhurst are. Currently that is the AHA. The AHA has 12 schools, one of which would slide to Hockey East, leaving a nice home for Buffalo.

      I suspect UConn is the targeted Hockey East 12th school, despite the concerns of some about scholarships/Title IX, as Notre Dame/UConn is the ACC’s preferred 15th/16th schools. As always, FBS Football is king in major college sports, which is why BC went to ACC (although can still make fun of them for it) and BU/NU dropped FCS football.

      I could also see Holy Cross making the jump if UConn does not. It does not have the national cachet and obvious television potential for ESPNU, but it fits the otherwise New England model, is close to the rest of the schools and would not mind playing the other Catholic schools in conference.

      I am not sure why RPI would want to leave ECAC, especially with many schools along the I-90, I-87 and I-88 corridors that are in-state rivals to become the only New York school in Hockey East.

      In fact, if sometime in the future Pittsburgh or Syracuse wanted to start programs, they would have a place to go as well.

  5. BGSU won’t be joining the NCHC neither will BSU if  the NCHC takes anymore it would be a school like Notre Dame. NCHC in my mind took an odd step by inviting SCSU into the conference. Notre Dame should have been the 8th making 8 of 8 teams in the NCHC having been in last years NCAA tourney.

    • Umm…  that’s what I was trying to say.  They, the supposedly elite NCHC, do not want BSU, Mankato, or BGSU.  As far as Notre Dame goes, they have a standing offer from the NCHC.  The reason Western Mich and SCSU were given late offers to the NCHC is because it appears that Notre Dame is tracking towards Hockey East as their fan base is more centrally located there.  No conference wants to be sitting at the NCAA minimum number of schools, and I’m sure that is why the offers were made to those two.

  6. The ACC has nothing to do with HEA. The ACC has no interest in UConn whatsoever. ND is the ACC’s top choice along with PSU. Backups are Rutgers, WVU, Louisville.

    ND & RPI are joining HEA.

    • The pairing the ACC wants is Notre Dame and UConn, with Notre Dame being the big prize and UConn being the best remaining school. UConn brings a much bigger part of the New York market than Rutgers does and it is a favored school for ESPN. Also, which program currently a full member of Big East will Syracuse and Pittsburgh lobby for?

      I am not sure what PSU stands for, since Penn State is NEVER going to leave the Big Ten. Penn State starting its D-I program is the very reason all of these dominoes fell in college hockey conferences.

      Hockey East and the ACC do not have a direct link and this is obvious. What should also be obvious is that if Notre Dame joins Hockey East, then two ACC schools are in Hockey East and that to make HE a 12-team list, there would be a third ACC school (UConn) possible, one that has a marketable athletics department.

      I love RPI’s history, but the fact is UConn has more potential and more connections, which are often the only things that seem to matter when these conferences are raided.

      Rutgers, if they go anywhere, will go to Big 10, since they are an AAU member. WVU and Louisvlle are long-shot backups for ACC


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