House of Sparky --- Three years from now in 2017-18 the Sun Devils will join a conference and two stand out as the most likely landing spots. The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) has shown interest, as has the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). It is to be determined which one Arizona State chooses.
Of the two, the NCHC would boost Arizona State's profile the most. It would guarantee games against one of the NCAA perennial powerhouses in North Dakota, a school with 20 Frozen Four appearances and seven national titles. Last season North Dakota lost in the Frozen Four to Minnesota.
Geographically the NCHC makes sense as well. Included in it are Colorado College and the University of Denver, the two closest schools to Tempe in either the NCHC or WCHA. The third-closest, Nebraska-Omaha, is also an NCHC school.
The NCHA is the more popular conference as far as fan attendance as well. Last season the most popular WCHA team was Bemidji State with an average of 3,562 fans per game, according to U.S. College Hockey Online. That ranked 22nd in the NCAA.
#ASU promotes men's ice hockey program to NCAA Division I status: http://t.co/pdIRC6hmxj pic.twitter.com/tqyVJeq86n
— Arizona Sports 98.7 (@AZSports) November 18, 2014
Final version: ASU (@TheSunDevils) to launch Division I men's hockey program (18 new scholarships): http://t.co/gQFPAPU3lL via @FOXSPORTSAZ
— Craig Morgan (@cmorganfoxaz) November 19, 2014
Arizona State to sponsor NCAA Division I men's hockey program: ASU will become the ninth col... http://t.co/wSVEgUqrch #NCAAhockey #NCAA
— NCAA Wire (@ncaawire) November 19, 2014