OT: Illinois might be making the jump to DIV 1 NCAA Hockey! Big for the new B10 hockey conference!

Submitted by WingsNWolverines on July 27th, 2013 at 8:08 PM
Big rumblings in the B10 hockey conference right now! Illinois might be making the jump to division 1 hockey in the B10. We would have 7 teams with their addition to the new conference! https://www.facebook.com/B1GHockey/posts/631611933524185 http://twitter.com/USCollegeHockey/status/361255995890085889/photo/1



July 27th, 2013 at 8:17 PM ^

This is great news for college hockey if it happens, the B1G in particular. More teams are always a good thing. 

For those reading this who aren't aware, prior to the formation of the B1G hockey conference, growth in college hockey had stagnated terribly. Small schools (by which I mean schools with names like "Findlay" and "Bemidji State") hovered on the edge of viability, and while most fans hoped for growth it seemed impossible with the existing conference structure. There was, basically, nowhere good for any new teams to go--Hockey East, the WCHA, and the CCHA were all operating at full capacity. A new team would be stuck in the television-and-attention-free Atlantic Hockey conference, playing teams like Mercyhurst all the time.

So the B1G, by forcing a total (and controversial) upheaval, has opened space for new teams. This is crucial for an expensive, regional sport, and a good sign of health.

Added bonus: This increases the chances that there will be "weak sister" teams in the conference every season to pad the win totals. Because Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin never stay bad for long. Of course we used to say that about MSU, too...



July 27th, 2013 at 8:22 PM ^

I did not expect that at all. That would be gigantic news.

I'm working on a diary on the total history of Big Ten Hockey and I was trying to wrap it up by projecting who the next team would be and my conclusion (till right about now) was basically no one for 10+ years unless the BTN makes hockey schools bookoo money.

Illinois, while only being varsity for 6 years, had a really good hockey program courtesy of Vic Heyliger. Would be amazing to see them suit up again

Edit: So this might be a big deflating false alarm


July 27th, 2013 at 8:24 PM ^

Now I'm wondering if that @USCollegeHockey tweet was just rampant speculation based off of that tweet from the Illini Hockey intern which has sparked a raging firestorm of twitter speculation itself



July 27th, 2013 at 8:34 PM ^

Ah well. It was fun to think about while it was lasted.

I guess I'll go back to thinking about Michigan's sparkling new receiver corps in three years.


July 27th, 2013 at 9:36 PM ^

Penn State required a donation of $102 million from Terry Pegula (owner of the Buffalo Sabres) in order to build a new arena and get the program started. That does not, however, mean that hockey is a money loser overall. Michigan hockey usually turns a profit, as do a few other schools if I remember correctly. Sure, a new program would lose money for the first couple of years, but it could conceivably become profitable down the road.


July 27th, 2013 at 9:45 PM ^

That seems strange since so few sports make money. Football only makes money for a couple dozen schools and basketball (men's) does so for some others but when you hear of other sports it is all about how much they cost overall.

It would be interesting to see how it plays out.


July 27th, 2013 at 9:56 PM ^

Well, it's expensive because you need an oncampus arena suitable for it. And you have to offset with a women's program that has an equal number of participants. So it's not just that men's hockey is expensive but makes money, since you are guaranteed to have to include a money losing women's sport as well.


July 28th, 2013 at 2:34 AM ^

that's it, it's a money maker. I know baseball is a big deal in the south and Michigan hockey is pretty much the same as Texas baseball in terms of fan support. If you can sell tickets (and a winning B1G hockey program would) it makes money. Illinois has a bunch of obsticles in its way, but they have a great club program, and wins equal interest.

Also I'm pretty sure football and MBB are profitable pretty much everwhere, it's just not enough to drag the rest of the AD into the black at most schools.


July 27th, 2013 at 9:48 PM ^

Looks like it runs about $2-4 million per year based on this article from last year. Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are in the black but Ohio State spends about $1.5 million on it a year and I'd say shockingly, MSU is a net-spender too (at $1.2 million)

If the BTN generates more revenue to schools that have hockey teams, it may become feasible for other schools to join, but as of now, I'd say it's unlikely a new team would be able to make money off hockey

Wolverine Devotee

July 27th, 2013 at 10:36 PM ^

Michigan was 6-13-0 against illinois and illinois won the final 13 meetings.

Their program folded (like most others) during WWII. 

I wish the whole B1G would have hockey. Would be so cool to see Michigan play these B1G schools and have these colors come into Yost. Would be strange. And it would be more attractive to the average student/fan who maybe doesn't follow hockey that closely. 

Seeing UMass-Lowell and Boston University.....outside of hockey, those schools aren't exactly names. 


July 28th, 2013 at 9:51 PM ^

Plus it is a newer sport, which means that brand new programs can find it easier to compete (my speculation). Whereas with hockey, there are programs that have been there for a long time, with established histories. The Beanpot is a fantastic tradition. 



July 30th, 2013 at 9:09 PM ^

It's cheaper and easy to balance out with a men's and women's team. I would also agree with this, but only at places that have men's and women's lacrosse programs they would be able to promote easily. I would not be shocked to see men's ice hockey paired with women's lacrosse as promotions either.