While watching olympic women's hockey, my wife asked me why Michigan doesn't have a women's hockey team. I did not have an answer. All of the olympians came from Minnesota, BC, North Dakota, etc. (i.e. traditional hockey powers). I'm skeptical it's money because we know the athletic department prints money and they could find a donor if needed. It would be a Title IX bonus, allowing an additional men's program if needed?
Today's Chicago Tribune has an article on the possibility of starting up a men's hockey team at the University of Illinois.
The opening sentence really says it all:
A study on the feasibility of using an NCAA men’s ice hockey team at the University of Illinois reached a clear conclusion: Go for it.
“The strong consensus of everyone involved in college hockey is that NCAA men’s hockey will flourish at the University of Illinois,” Mike Snee, executive director of College Hockey Inc., said in a statement the university released. “From the number of native Illinois players currently playing college hockey to the continued growth of youth hockey players in the state, there are many reasons to be confident that the Fighting Illini could quickly become a top national program and sustain it every year.”
Personally, I doubt how quickly Illinois could become a "top national program." Having said that, I like the idea of adding an 8th team to the Big 10. And I am pretty irritated at the NCAA tournament always being out East, except for the rare occasions it is in Minnnesota or Colorado. Michigan has been shafted, period. But man, having the NCAA tourney choose sites in the Big 10 footprint at Big 10 rinks (YOST!) would be awesome. Or, having the tourney use the home ice of the Red Wings or the Blackhawks would also be great. You can fill the stands in Detroit or Chicago, especially if Michigan, ND, MSU, Wisconsin, OSU and eventually Illinois are playing.
I was curious about one stat in the article: it claimed that Illinois had the 6th largest size youth hockey leagues, comparing states. In googling this, Illinois came in 8th, not 6th. But Michigan was a solid 2nd, and the quote was very positive:
As far as top level NHL players go, Michigan may rank as the best state in the country. Along with the great traditions at Michigan State and the University of Michigan, the Detroit Red Wings are quite possibly the most popular hockey team in America.
EDIT: Of course, Minnesota is number 1 in terms of youth hockey participation. It almost goes without saying. And I suppose if you included Canada, they would have far, far greater youth participation in hockey than all states.
This is probably a bit excessive given the quantity of hockey threads now available, but I thought it would be nice to reset where Michigan stands regarding the NCAA tournament.
For starters, if you weren't already aware, Michigan is now a 100% lock for a bid. That is, by far, the big news. They are currently ranked #8 in the Pairwise Ratings, which is a mathematical model that perfectly replicates the NCAA rankings for hockey. Those less familiar with the system will be interested to know that it is a 100% objective, numbers based system to determine bids and seeds.
3 ten-thousanths of a point behind now tied with Clarkson in the RPI (and ahead by common opponent record), which means they could jump Clarkson to #7 with a good finish to the conference tournament; it is virtually impossible for them to ascend any higher than that. According to collegehockeynews.com's Pairwise Probability Matrix, Michigan has a 41% chance of earning a #2 seed in the tournament, a 59% chance of earning a #3 seed, and a 0.1% chance of being someone's worst nightmare #4 seed.
This means that we can start looking at potential matchups. It's still early, with a lot of games left to play and a lot of changes left to occur, but Michigan is looking at a 2-3 game somewhere in three weeks.
The committee won't pair Michigan with a team from its conference, so if OSU drops from the #4 spot, they will be placed in a separate region from Michigan. So will Penn State, if they hold on to their #11 position. Minnesota also has a better than 50% chance of being a #3. None of these teams will play Michigan in the opening round.
Michigan's natural opponent right now at the 9 spot (the first 3 seed) is UMD, which is my personal nightmare. There's a lot to change between now and then. Other possible three-seed opponents include Northeastern and Providence.
If Michigan drops to a three, they're looking at Minnesota State, Denver, Clarkson, Northeastern, or UMD again. Denver is the one I would not want to play from a hockey standpoint. I think a rematch against Clarkson would be very attractive.
Where is Michigan going? Too soon to tell, but it will probably depend upon which #1 seed they are paired with. FWIW Notre Dame probably goes to Allentown, unless North Dakota makes the tournament and forces Saint Cloud out that way. I think Michigan has a decent chance to get shipped to Sioux Falls if Saint Cloud is there, but they really could go anywhere.
Ol’ Dex struck goals…twice [Bill Rapai]
Analysis: Much, much better from the Wolverines tonight, as they tallied six (!) even-strength goals (seven with Slaker’s empty-netter). They eviscerated the Badger defense, getting into the slot and House with ease and finishing their chances.
The DMC line was crushing Wisconsin on the forecheck and Dancs tied the game early after scooping up a loose puck in the House. Becker and Warren added jammer goals down low. Dancs had a snipe as the second period ended, and Luce flung a puck at the net from the blue line that also got through Berry.
One of the keys coming into the series for Wisconsin was to have one of their goalies steal a game. That did not happen at all. In total, they gave up 12 goals on 57 shots for a save % of .790. That’s not going to win many games or series. Michigan went into Clear, Dump, and Change Mode with a three-goal lead and Wisconsin threw the kitchen sink at the net and pulled their goalie with over four minutes left. That’s why there’s such a discrepancy in the third period. Close Corsi ended up 27-26, Michigan.
[More, including the goal of the year, after THE JUMP]
Updated 6:00 a.m. this morning:
Our win over UW and Penn State over Gophers dropped them to #11, and us up to #8
also ahead of UMD and Northeastern
Ohio still #6, ND #2 after winning their games last night
This would be a #2 seed.
Amaizing season, come to Yost tonight to watch us win the series.
Game is (once again) on BTN Plus (sigh...)
However, Radio + GameTracker: http://mgoblue.com/watch/?Live=115&type=Archive
It's 3-1 and we really aren't playing well to start this game, it's time to take Lavigne out, and I realized the reason behind our bad luck is the lack of a classic MGoBlog Hockey Game Thread!
So here it is. Let's bounce back now.