April 19th, 2012 at 2:24 PM ^

No surprise here. This was the arrangement that had been hinted at, and it seems to be the best option.

There was a lively (and actually somewhat substantiative) debate about this on the USCHO board, and ultimately it had to be this way: The X has the best chance to sell well and is pretty much the best arena in the country; the Joe has reliable fans and is much closer to 2/3 of the conference's hockey teams. 

Winds up being a fair arrangement. It will be interesting to see how it works--there will be almost zero attendance overlap between the two venues. I actually wouldn't be surprised to see the X struggle a bit in attendance relative to the Final Five, due to the change in teams and the removal of the annual tradition the Final Five brought with it.

The good news for me is that I get another chance to see Michigan play every other year.


April 19th, 2012 at 2:25 PM ^

The only other reasonble site would have been Chicago, which doesn't really have any B1G teams.

I would rather have had it be a multi weekend best of 3 series at campus venues, but at least this way, M is guaranteed to be at a "home" venue every other year.

Kind of screws PSU, MSU, OSU, and Wisky, but whatever...


April 19th, 2012 at 2:39 PM ^

MSU's closest NHL-sized venue is... Joe Louis Arena. The JLA isn't chosen for Michigan; it is chosen for Michigan and Michigan State, as well as being accessible to Penn State and Ohio State. The X is at least 10 hours from each of those schools; the Joe is actually reachable.

Ohio State and Penn State do not have the established fan bases to justify hosting a hockey tournament whose primary proximity is either of those schools; Ohio State fans just don't attend in big enough numbers, and the PSU fanbase is completely unknown. The Joe, in contrast, has a proven fanbase of Michigan AND Michigan State fans who visit every year, where the attendance is usually pretty well split.

Similarly, Minnesota fans are a cinch to show up in good numbers at the X, and the venue is accessible to Wisconsin fans as well. 

The goal is to bridge the gap between a need for neutrality and a desire to have people actually show up at the games. This was the only solution.


April 19th, 2012 at 5:19 PM ^

Dolla dolla bills baby.  The Big Ten doesn't want to get stuck having a tournament in Happy Valley (which is extremely difficult to drive to, especially in the winter and doesn't really have an airport) during which no opposing fans would show up.  I guess PSU playing in Pittsburgh wouldn't be a bad option (5 hours or less from PSU, OSU, UM, MSU) either.  Minny and Detroit guarentee maximum returns each year. 


April 19th, 2012 at 2:29 PM ^

Consider my firmly against anything that involves more single-elimination hockey. 

This is pretty much the WCHA Final Five except sometimes in the Joe, which, there are way worse things, I guess.  But play-off hockey in your home rink is special, even when it's against horrible teams.  And single-elimination sucks.  Maybe if/when the Big Ten hockey conference expands, they can put some campus sites and series in...


April 19th, 2012 at 2:42 PM ^

Unfortunately, single-elimination has always been the way of the NCAA, and that won't change any time soon. You might see a first-round series at home in the B1G someday, but neutral-site single-elimination conference tournaments are forever.

Leaders And Best

April 19th, 2012 at 2:50 PM ^

It's one thing for the NCAA tournament (which I still think could be tweaked with Best of 3).  But what is the point of the conference regular season if you are going to have a single elimination neutral site tournament for the conference?  The only advantage I see is that with only 6 teams I am guessing the top 2 seeds get a bye into the semis?


April 19th, 2012 at 3:19 PM ^

You are correct about the bye. 

I've no need to rehash my views on the NCAA tournament, suffice it to say that when in a UV Brian referred to a Michigan fan ranting against the current hockey tournament on USCHO, that Michigan fan was me. 

The original idea was to host the first round of the conference tournament at home sites, then hold the final three games at the home site of the top seed, but Wisconsin apparently put the kibosh on the idea (with help from Ohio State) due to arena conflicts. This solution allows the arenas to be designated in advance while still drawing fans and looking good on television.

This is not necessarily the best of all options, but the best option that is politically feasible. 

As for your question about what the point of the conference regular season is, well, that's an open question for a lot of sports at a lot of levels. Basketball isn't exactly a shining example here.

Hockey is constrained by NCAA norms which value academic time and lose-and-out tournaments over the best-of-7 arrangements used in other sports. A best-of-7 series or two would be thrilling, but completely out of scale with the rest of college sports.


April 19th, 2012 at 3:06 PM ^

It looks like they finally learned to rotate the damn championship game.  It's too bad it took 40 percent capacity in lucas Oil Stadium to learn this and now the game is stuck in Indianapolis for the next decade.

Sac Fly

April 19th, 2012 at 3:03 PM ^

I can't wait for B1G hockey. Since we didn't really play them I took a strong liking to Wisconsin, and watching the growth of PSU hockey has been really interesting to keep an eye on over the last year or so.


April 19th, 2012 at 3:21 PM ^

I think the B1G may help college hockey rise in profile in the long-term, but my preference for it is in large part entirely selfish; Michigan is guaranteed two games in Minneapolis every year.

I've enjoyed being in the CCHA, but after the lousy treatment Michigan got this season leaving looks a lot more attractive.


April 19th, 2012 at 4:09 PM ^

I HATE HATE HATE when college hockey is played on pro ice. Change the college lines, or do something.

What if all year college basketball was played with a 35 second shot clock and the college 3 point line, then, for the tournament, the shot clock was 24 seconds and the 3 point line was the NBA's.

Same in football - now you need 2 feet down for a catch, etc.

Moving the lines changed the game of hockey. the offensive zone is SO much bigger, it comes into play like crazy during powerplays. No other sport does this, hockey should fix it.

/that said, wouldn't have minded Chicago every 5 years or so, seeing as it's central (and I live there and would go), but either Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, or ND would have to join  the B1G Hockey conference for that to happen.


April 19th, 2012 at 5:01 PM ^

Good to hear.  Would've preferred best-of-three campus sites, but this is better than getting shipped to Xcel EVERY YEAR.  As everyone has stated: let's hope it goes to campus sites when more members add hockey.


April 19th, 2012 at 5:05 PM ^

Well that is...better than I expected I suppose.

I can't help but think I've been duped though. Campus sites sounded so great so then to get everyone to be ok with this strange idea, they proposed something outrageous (the X) so then when we get here everyone is mildly happy about it.

It's the Dave Brandon approach

Wolverine In Exile

April 19th, 2012 at 8:09 PM ^

Considering Chicago has the most non-homestate alumni for Michigan, MSU, Wisconsin (and I bet Minnesota &  Penn St aren't far behind), Detroit and Minneapolis are kind of bookends for the non-home state alumni in terms of reasonable travel. Plus Twin Cities and Detroit actually know how to host a winter sports event, so I would imagine the "event" portion of the tournament will be well taken care of. I give it a tentative thumbs up. Until Michigan gets screwed in the championship game, at which point I'll complain about bitter former WCHA or CCHA refs. Chicago would have been ideal geographically, but you gotta make sure you sell tickets, so you have to make sure you have the event in a city with multiple large alumni bases. Twin Cities and Detroit both fit the bill.

If the CCHA had survived, I would have wondered where they would tourney at (Grand Rapids?), but with the new WCHA, have they announced a location? I would imagine either Twin Cities or some other location in Minnesota.