WIAC schools to withdraw from the NCHA, effective 2014-15 season

The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced Wednesday that its men’s and women’s hockey teams will be leaving the NCHA and will compete solely under the WIAC banner, effective with the 2014-15 school year.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Wisconsin-River Falls and Wisconsin-Superior are charter members of the men’s NCHA which was formed in 1980, while Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Wisconsin-Stout joined the NCHA in 1987 and 1996, respectively.

UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Superior and UW-Stevens Point formed the women’s NCHA in 2000.

“We (WIAC) recognize that our decision to withdraw from the NCHA will have a profound impact on the future of that conference,” said WIAC commissioner Gary Karner in a press release. “Out of respect for the non-WIAC member institutions of the NCHA, we had no interest in leaving the conference without providing sufficient notice and it is our intention to engage in a dialogue over the next two years that will ensure the viability of Division III men’s and women’s ice hockey in the upper Midwest for many years to come.”

“The NCHA has a long history of being a strong and formidable college hockey conference,” NCHA commissioner Bill Kronschnabel said in a separate statement. “The withdrawal of the WIAC teams from the NCHA in 2014 will definitely alter the landscape for D-III men’s hockey in the West. I would expect the remaining members to fully explore all options during the next two years and proceed in a manner consistent with their own institutional best interests and the best interests of D-III hockey (men’s
and women’s) in the West.”

The WIAC is comprised of UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout, UW-Superior and UW-Whitewater.