Bowling Green accepts WCHA’s invitation to join in 2013

Bowling Green has accepted the WCHA’s offer of membership for the 2013-14 season, the school announced Tuesday.

The school was one of five from the CCHA given an invitation in August to join the WCHA, which is set to lose eight of its current 12 teams when conferences realign in the 2013 offseason. Alaska, Ferris State and Lake Superior State also accepted; Western Michigan instead is joining the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

“The WCHA is a great fit for BGSU,” Bowling Green athletic director Greg Christopher said in a statement. “WCHA teams are committed to the highest level of college hockey and competing for championships, just as we are at Bowling Green.”

The Falcons got an extension on the original deadline to answer the WCHA while they investigated other opportunities, one of which reportedly involved Atlantic Hockey schools and Buffalo, which has indicated an interest in forming a varsity program.

As it stands, the WCHA in 2013-14 will include current members Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State, as well as current CCHA members Alaska, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan.

“I’d like to thank the presidents of the institutions in the WCHA for extending this invitation,” school president Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey said. “Our university and our hockey program has many similarities to the current WCHA members and we are excited to join with these schools in two years.”

Bowling Green was a founding member of the CCHA in 1971 and is the only one with that designation that has never left the league.

“We are absolutely elated to welcome Bowling Green into the Association family,” WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said in a statement. “Across the board, BGSU is a first-class institution with a dynamic and proven athletic and hockey program that has enjoyed ongoing successes. They are 100 percent committed to being among the nation’s premier ice hockey programs and they will be a tremendous addition to our new-look WCHA. They enjoy enthusiastic support from both their fans and their community and will be a great fit. This is indeed a special day for the WCHA, for Bowling Green, and for college hockey in general.”