Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday tornadoes bring college hockey links...

This is a map of the United States showing whi...Image via WikipediaThere is a lot of news going on right now in the world of college hockey… I will try to keep up to date as much as I can.

If you haven’t listened to this interview;  [Click this link] to listen to athletic director Forrest Karr talk about the changes in college hockey...

In case you haven't seen it, Dave DeLand; the sports editor of the Saint Cloud Times wrote this column that was in yesterdays newspaper -> Huskies are left with only questions. Talk about doom and gloom article that has a theme of poor me. If you don’t believe me take a look for yourself, below is the crux of the article. The schools involved in the new conference have said that they are going to need to play the teams left in the WCHA. So I wouldn't cancel any renovations yet.
»SCSU is getting ready to start a $28.8 million renovation project at the National Hockey Center. Is that even needed now that the building’s primary tenant is headed for a significant league downgrade — and, in all likelihood, an attendance downsizing?

» How does the WCHA implosion affect fundraising for the NHC renovation? Funds for the initial $14 million stage are in hand, but part of the funds for the $14.8 million second stage are supposed to come from future revenue — and that will almost certainly be diminished by the conference’s breakup.

» How do you sell naming rights for the arena of a team in a third-tier conference? In 2013-14, that’s exactly what the WCHA will be.

» How do you sell tickets for conference games against Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech and MSU-Mankato instead of North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Minnesota-Duluth?

» How much will recruiting suffer? St. Cloud State has always been able to sell its elite WCHA schedule to recruits, but that advantage disappears when you’re playing conference games against Michigan Tech instead of Minnesota and North Dakota.

» The remaining WCHA schools keep pointing out that they’ll still play nonconference games against the Gophers and Sioux and Bulldogs, but will they play them at home? Or, will St. Cloud State just play road games at NCHC schools — sort of like the lower-rung cupcakes that the Gophers import during the nonleague portion of their football schedule?
Another aritcle from the same newspaper -> College hockey: 'It's a tough day for the WCHA'
There was sentiment from multiple schools that WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod needed to step down.

When the discussion turned to schools possibly pulling out of the WCHA, one of the small-school athletic directors made a motion that called for a six-figure fine to be imposed on all defectors, a point confirmed Wednesday by Faison. The sanction idea was supported by another small-school AD but subsequently withdrawn.
I keep seeing this same topic pop up over and over again in the various blogs and newspapers, and after thinking about it for a while I must ask; are the five schools leaving the WCHA the "only" schools that were in favor of getting rid of WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod?

The next question that I must ask is, are the other schools not in the mix of joining the new conferene; are you happy with the status quo in the WCHA under the leadership of Commissioner Bruce McLeod? I think these are legitimate questions that need to be asked, it would be interesting to see how they would answer that question if they could. Obviously they are still in the league and don't want to bite the hand that feeds them.

I have also read where some SCSU fans think that the reason the Huskies weren’t asked to join the NCHC because of their former president Roy H. Saigo and his stance on the Fighting Sioux logo… I highly doubt that was a reason for SCSU not being invited to join the NCHC... If that was a reason that SCSU was not asked to be in the NCHC, that would be very petty reason in my opinion... Also, the schools involved in this new league are very professional organizations and I can’t see this being a factor because UND AD Brian Faison UND President Robert O. Kelley are both on record as wanting to move forward away from the Fighting Sioux logo and the controversy that surrounds the historic nickname.

Moving forward does the WCHA (those schools that are left) really want Bruce McLeod as the face of their league if he is such a polarizing figure? If in fact one of the reasons these five power schools left the WCHA was because of Brue McLeod (it does appear to be one of the reasons) then maybe the league might want to consider getting rid of him even if it means spending some money to buy his contract out.

Another topic that keeps coming out is some of the AD’s in the WCHA said that they didn’t see this move coming. Yet the head hockey coach for BSU knew this conference was in the works for some time.
Eric Stromgren; Bemidji Pioneer --- When the National Collegiate Hockey Conference became a reality Wednesday, it was an announcement Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore saw coming.

“We knew this was probably going to happen,” Serratore said. “It has been in the fold for a few months and we’ve had time to digest this. Basically what we just need to do now is move on. We’re still in the WCHA.”

So I have to ask, if BSU knew about the new conference forming, how did the UAA AD Steve Cobb not know that this new college hockey conference was coming down the pike? Does he not have the Internet, email and a telephone/cell phone. Cobb said earlier this past week; "I blame everybody for being less than honest with their own league members. It's a really sneaky back-door deal." Again, I must ask where is the communication between member schools in college hockey. Do they not talk to each other? It would appear that they do not. I am going to call shenanigans on this one because I am just not buying it.

If this is the case, it’s time for the WCHA teams/schools that are not in the NCHC to start having more frequent communications with their fellow conference members. I mean; come on!!! Everyone and his brother knew that there was a very "big possibility" that the new “NCHC” was going to form. When I say "big ossibility” I mean there was a lot of unofficial talk that was out there and someone at UAA must have actually seen some of it, it’s not like it was a really big secret.

Where are the Irish going?

With the CCHA disintegrating before our very eyes and with NMU announcing that they are going to the WCHA pending final approval because of a legal issue, which should be resolved this up coming week.
WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod told ESPN 970-AM's Casey Ford Friday morning that 75 percent of the league would have to accept NMU, but the bylaws are unclear whether that applies only to the current 12-team WCHA or the 2013-14 five-team WCHA, as well.

League lawyers are expected to resolve the issue soon and "formal approval of Northern Michigan's application for membership in the WCHA will occur next week," according to Friday's WCHA statement.
Holding all of the cards at a poker game, the $64,000.00 question remains where are the ND Fighting Irish going. Mike McMahon from the Eagle Tribune seems to think that ND is going to Hockey East...
Word around the league is that Notre Dame, one of the leftovers in the wake of the Big 10 formation, is currently deciding whether to join the new NCHC or Hockey East, which it has connections to with other Catholic colleges (Merrimack, Providence and Boston College) as well as the fact that all of the Irish sports besides football compete in the Big East.

According to what I've been told by multiple sources within the league, if Notre Dame wants to join Hockey East, they would be welcomed with open arms.
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