Obviously the story is a few weeks old, so I hope the knee-jerk reactions are gone.
There are several questions to be answered about the 7 WCHA schools leaving the conference - with the intention of forming their own conference.
My first question is: Who becomes the 8th team? It seems that 8 teams would be a better setup than 7. So, who joins them?
I don't see Notre Dame - despite being in the geographic region - leaving what appears to be a win-win for them and the B1G. The 'regional' reference leaves Arizona State on the outs as a potential 8th.
So, are Western and Miami - or both - taking a look? It wouldn't be the first whispers of defection from the NCHC from the eastern teams. WMU and Miami (OF OHIO) moving to the new-WCHA would essentially align the new conference with a combination of MAC-GLIAC schools... with the Northern Sun teams split among the NCHC and new-W.
Perhaps, a trade or agreement? the new league takes the MAC, in exchange for Mankato and Bemidji.
That still leaves the new league one-team short. Even a simple defection of the east end of the NCHC leaves an odd number. Which asks the question - who do the W-7 teams know that wants to go D-1? Is it Moorhead, again? Is it Minot State? Is it Davenport or Grand Valley? Or is Wu-Tang... er, I mean Wayne State coming back?
There are still some numbers that need settled.
And yet, the biggest question is: What becomes of the Alaska schools and Huntsville?
Lots of moving parts in the next few years that's for sure:
some random musings: despite the rumors I don't see WMU and Miami leaving anytime soon. seems like a step back for both programs to leave the best conference in hockey and settle for a cost containment league. -- not to mention the large payout both teams would have to make upon leaving (something like 1.5 million or something along those lines
I don't see the NCHC adding teams anytime soon. Commish Fenton has stated that his focus is on the existing conference members. Personally I would not want to see the conference watered down by adding teams just for the sake of it. asu needs to get their arena problems resolved and are not a good fit for the nchc. mankato could be a possibility, but do they really add anything??
UAH could be a possible addition to atlantic hockey perhaps
there has been rumors of navy going d1 or possibly st. thomas in a few years. I can see st. thomas being an 8th team for the rebooted ccha.
Alaska has serious problems. when they announced the move to on site rinks it wasn't good. now that the gov has slashed the universities budget think both alaska schools are done. -- link to budget crisis is below:
A wild rumor that has been mentioned on the sioux sports forum is north dakota joining the big 10 as an affiliate member. I see that happening when pigs fly.
the NCHC is in great shape right now. If I were the commish I would not be adding any additional teams that would water down the conference.
on the plus side at least michigan tech fans can stop whining about the nchc now..
I'm with you on the NCHC. No reason to change. Just acknowledging - as you confirmed - the rumor that Miami and Western are not entirely happy.
Mankato brings nothing, and I think they are a better fit for the MAC/D-2 league the rebellion will bring forth. (and for the love of all things holy, don't let Bemidji in.)
I suspect St. Thomas is the missing piece to the puzzle. They make 8 in the Non-A League. Illinois makes 8 in the B1G. Navy joins Army and USAFA in Atlantic Hockey.
I tweeted out early that this is likely the death knell for hockey in Alaska - unless the NCAA brings back D-2.
Random thought: can Simon Fraser (and maybe UBC) save the Alaska schools?
My first thought was the Alaska schools are dead. Which is sad, Fairbanks HAS been a decent program. Anchorage has never been good. I just don't see how they continue. Alabama at least has some proximity going for them. I don't seen Miami or Western leaving. I don't see Notre Dame going from Big10 to the new W, that'd be beneath them.
I haven't heard anything about those other schools restarting a program but it would seem like a good time to do so, a new conference they could probably jump right into. As a St. John's alum, I'm a bit floored about St. Thomas thinking about a jump. Where does this come from? Has there been news out there about this?
I think it would be a "hoot" to have Notre Dame and Minnesota in the NCHC. Yes, I know, they said that they are not looking to expand, and they were $o $serious about it too.
a) just thin of the verbal wars going on in Minnesota and North Dakota, and...
b) Notre Dame gets more televised games. (Sorry NCHC, most of your rink rat feeds suck)...
After that, they find 2 more, up to 12, 2 divisions with the top 2 in each division making up the playoff group...
NO WAY Minnesota leaves the B1G. I'm still expecting Illinois to join and make 8 teams there - with Notre Dame.
Huntsville - as Buetow mentioned - has a lifeline with ECAC or Atlantic Hockey not being too far away.
But I'm still fearing the end is near for the Alaska schools - which is a shame. Anchorage had a very nice history. Fairbanks has been better more recently. Sad that Ron Mason isn't around to save them again.
Chris, I said it would be a ‘hoot’, I understand that said opportunity would never happen.personally, I would love to see a major realignment that is devoid of other sports influence. The opportunities for rivalries, better travel options, etc. are there, but money talks.