Seven NCAA hockey schools leaving WCHA rebranding themselves as new CCHA conference

24 MAR 2013: Bryan Rust (Notre Dame - 21)  Notre Dame wins the final CCHA Championship at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI.  (USCHO - Rachel Lewis) (©Rachel Lewis)
Bryan Rust and Notre Dame celebrate the final CCHA championship at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, back on March 24, 2013 (photo: Rachel Lewis).

Last June, seven WCHA schools announced the exploration of a new Division I men’s hockey conference that will begin play in the 2021-2022 season.

Today, it was announced that the league will be reestablished and branded as the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).

The seven schools are Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan.

Alaska, Alaska Anchorage and Alabama Huntsville will be excluded from the CCHA.

The alignment continues to be led by Dr. Morris Kurtz, a noted athletics and hockey consultant, who has guided the members through legal incorporation, the creation of league bylaws and the establishment of a financial escrow fund.

According to Kurtz, the next steps will include development of league branding and logos and commencement of a search for the conference’s first commissioner, who they hope to have in place no later than July 1.

“It’s been inspiring to lead this group as it is comprised of institutions rich in history and tradition, with a strong commitment to academic and athletic excellence,” said Kurtz in a statement. “As noted from inception, they have a real vision for where they are going with the new league, as they focus on improving regional alignment while building natural rivalries and enhancing the student-athlete and fan experience.”

Kurtz further explained the decision to revive the CCHA moniker.

“After extensive discussion and significant due diligence, it made sense to everyone involved to move in this direction,” Kurtz added. “The name conveys the current geographic alignment of our members and the CCHA brand has a tremendous amount of equity and goodwill associated with it. What’s old is new again and we look forward to refreshing the brand and identity to fully capture the energy and passion of the institutions it represents.”

No timeline was given, but Kurtz indicates the schools are moving in the appropriate direction to conclude the establishment of the league and they are right on pace for an October 2021 first puck drop to start play.

“We have interviewed several consulting firms to assist us with brand development,” said Kurtz. “That process will create some momentum for us as we begin the commissioner search process. I am confident that the Central Collegiate Hockey Association commissionership presents an incredible opportunity. We will find the right person and have them ready to start leading this group by July 1.”