And conference jumping begins in hockey
posted at 3/19/2011 9:44 AM EDT
Read this today on the alternate news source. I don't know, can't see this impacting HE or ECAC too much, though it might realign Atlantic Hockey a bit if Air Force bolts to join a more local league in the midwest. The Pa teams might align with the remaining CCHA. And then, Atlantic might try to raid other leagues in the East in order to survive.
As for Big Ten hockey, there'd be quite a bottom-loaded imbalance at least initially, they're talking club and dII programs against Minn, Mich, Mich St, Ohio St. Oh, and glad that the herald's got the story at least...
Big change anticipated
New conference could impact Hockey East
By John Connolly / College Hockey
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Hockey East officials are closely following developments surrounding the formation of a new Division 1 Big Ten hockey conference. Big Ten officials are expected to make the announcement either Monday or Tuesday.
“From what I understand, it’s a done deal. They’re going to make the announcement shortly,” Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna said.
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) would lose Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) would lose Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. Unconfirmed reports indicate the new Big Ten conference will not take in any non-affiliated members into the new configuration. Thus, marquee hockey programs like Denver and North Dakota in the WCHA, and Notre Dame and Miami of Ohio in the CCHA would find themselves on the outside looking in. “I think we’re on the brink of the most dramatic changes in the college hockey scene that we’ve ever seen,” said Bertagna, who has been a league commissioner for the past 29 years (14 with HE).
Recently, Penn State announced it is revving up its current club program to Division 1 status and is building a new rink. In addition, schools like Indiana and Illinois have long-established club programs, while Iowa has featured a non-varsity Div. 2 team. All those schools easily could make the transformation to the Div. 1 level, given the vast resources at each.
This move could lead to the remaining non-Big Ten schools in the Midwest setting up their own new league, or looking for other conferences to join. Hockey East, which has an unbalanced playing schedule with teams facing foes twice at home and once on the road, has long sought to expand to eliminate that scheduling imbalance.
“I think everyone is just waiting,” Bertagna said. “Obviously, you’re going to have some schools interested in moving to other leagues, and some may want to form a new league. Right now, it’s all rumors and loose conversation.”
Bertagna offered a cautionary tone. “It’s easy to bring in Penn State, but at the end of the day if some other schools wind up having to drop hockey, it’s not a good thing,” he said.