MCHA men and women moving forward as Northern Collegiate Hockey Association

The Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association announced Monday a new name and representation of both men’s and women’s teams under one association.

The MCHA announced last summer that both St. Norbert and St. Scholastica will be joining the league for the 2013-14 campaign, which will also see the MCHA renamed the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association.

“We are very pleased to announce these changes as we are moving into the transitional phases of our women’s and men’s conferences,” NCHA commissioner Dr. G. Steven Larson said in a news release. “It was very important for us to respect and recognize the traditions of both associations while simultaneously moving forward with a new perspective to reflect the changes that have taken place. Needless to say, this is a very exciting period of progression for member institutions and our hockey programs.”

As part of the transition, the women’s teams from the current NCHA will now be under the same conference umbrella with the men’s, with each side having its own administrative structure, constitution and bylaws.

The men’s NCHA tournament champion will continue to play for the Harris Cup and the regular-season champion will now receive the Peters Cup, named after Bob Peters, the former Bemidji State coach who won two NCAA titles as an early member of the NCHA in 1984 and 1986.

On the women’s side, the NCHA tournament champion will now play for the Slaats Cup, named in honor of Lake Forest director of athletics Jackie Slaats, in recognition of her efforts and dedication in pioneering the formation of the women’s NCHA. The regular-season champion will skate for the Kronschnabel Cup, named after Bill Kronschnabel, the commissioner of the former NCHA since 2002.

“I am really excited about the coming together of the two leagues and about both the synergy and energy that will result from having our men and women compete under the same name,” Slaats added. “I am also honored and humbled to have the new league playoff championship bear my name. It’s hard to believe how quickly, and how much, women’s hockey has grown since the initial formation of a women’s division in the spring of 2000. I honestly could not be happier or more proud of the outcome.”

Both the women and men will maintain their automatic qualifier status and continue to play for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The men’s NCHA will consist of Adrian, Concordia (Wis.), Finlandia, Lake Forest, Lawrence, Marian, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Northland, St. Norbert and St. Scholastica.

The women’s NCHA will be comprised of Adrian, Concordia (Wis.), Finlandia, Lake Forest, Marian, St. Norbert and St. Scholastica.

The league will also welcome a new logo and a new website. Immediate changes will be seen starting today on the league website (which will operate under the site only moving forward), with updating and archiving changes happening into the summer.

Larson, the current MCHA commissioner, will serve in the same role for both the men’s and women’s conferences. Jim Olson, the former MCHA supervisor of officials, will continue in his role for both sides of the conference.

Chris Zills and Brian Monahan, who previously worked behind the scenes for the MCHA and NCHA to publicize their leagues, will both stay on board with the NCHA. Monahan will serve in the role of director of public relations, while Zills will be the director of sports information.