SIAP: Big Ten Hockey Conference Could Begin In 2013

Submitted by bklein09 on February 22nd, 2011 at 2:20 PM

I am a HUGE Michigan Hockey fan, and my hope is that college hockey can become much more popular in the near future. This is a major step in that direction.

http://www.collegehockeynews.com/news/2011/02/21_big_ten_hockey_looms,_…

Notes:

Penn State's arena construction is currently ahead of schedule, meaning is could be ready by the Fall of 2013.

Big Ten ADs to discuss issue at BT Basketball Tourney, decision likely to be made by April.

Big Ten would initially (probably) be a 6 team conference, leaving lots of room for non-conference games to maintain rivalries. 

IMO, this is all win. I can't wait to be able to watch nearly every Michigan hockey game on TV in the near future.

 

 

Comments

goblue7612

February 22nd, 2011 at 2:30 PM ^

I also hope that college hockey continues to grow; however, I don't think a BTHC would allow that to happen. Removing UM, MSU, and OSU from the CCHA, could be very detrimental to it. Bowling Green was already on the cusp of folding, and I'm unsure of the numbers, but I have to imagine that UM and maybe MSU are the biggest draws for some of the smaller schools in the CCHA. If they were all to leave, I see no way that some of those teams could stay afloat, which would be such a shame and may cause college hockey to contract.

I think the more likely possibility is that PSU would join the CCHA seeing as how we only have 11 teams and rejected UAH from joining (i presume to allow PSU to join). I imagine if the decision were left up to the hockey minds in the Big Ten such as Red, Mason, etc they would want the CCHA to remain intact, but for financial purposes, I could see the BTHC being formed. Only time will tell.

jmblue

February 22nd, 2011 at 2:36 PM ^

PSU in the CCHA would be much better for college hockey than for six power teams to band together and leave the smaller schools in the lurch.  Not only would the rump CCHA be dramatically worse, the WCHA would also be seriously affected by the loss of Minn and Wisc.    I can't see how that would help national competitive balance.

 

Alton

February 22nd, 2011 at 4:15 PM ^

Penn State hockey would have as much interest in joining the CCHA as Michigan football would have in joining the MAC.  Nobody in State College will ever say, "boy, I can't wait until that big Northern Michigan game!"  Just drop that idea--Penn State would not have spent all of this money (even donated money) to play Western Michigan and Lake Superior.  They are expecting 10 home games a year against Michigan, MSU, OSU, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and they are going to get them.

College hockey is stagnant.  There isn't a single team west of the Alleghenies that didn't exist 10 years ago, and there are a few (Wayne State, Findlay) that don't exist now that did exist 10 years ago.  A shake-up is the only thing that will save college hockey in the west, and we are getting it.  The typical college hockey fan who can't accept the fact that it's no longer 1985 is having a hard time dealing with this, but college hockey needs change, and Penn State is bringing that change. 

The Big Ten hockey conference will end up being the best thing that ever happened to college hockey.  It might be bad for some individual schools that currently have college hockey teams, but that doesn't mean it will be bad for college hockey as a sport.

TheHoke.TheHok…

February 22nd, 2011 at 6:00 PM ^

What universities, in the midst of athletic departments slashing budgets and sports, would be up for adding a varsity ice hockey program - the most expensive non-revenue sport there is ?

Athletic departments are stretched too thin and hockey in general has waning interest in the US.  I don't think college hockey will be expanding either way.

Alton

February 22nd, 2011 at 6:24 PM ^

Possibly, but there are 2 choices--(1) continue with business as usual, with 2 western conferences with no interest in taking on any new teams, or (2) open up some space in the existing conferences to help them take on a newly-formed team.  Option #1 guarantees stagnation, option #2 at least allows teams to consider adding hockey. 

As far as "hockey in general has waning interest in the US..." I disagree.  Hockey is a regional sport and always has been.  In the areas like White Bear Lake, Minnesota (go Bears!), where hockey was popular 30 years ago, it is still as popular as ever.  In the areas like Flower Mound, Texas, where hockey was not popular 30 years ago, it is still as unpopular as ever--maybe a little less so, though. 

I would also dispute your first sentence--"...in the midst of athletic departments slashing budgets..."  Some universities, like Western Michigan and Bowling Green, are slashing budgets.  Some, like Virginia and Illinois, have revenue numbers that have never been higher.  The idea is to get some of those universities to add hockey.  The sport has changed; the days of Lake Superior and Rensselaer winning national championships are over.  I am willing to make a bet that the next 10 NCAA Hockey championships will be won by schools with $1 billion endowments and/or 10,000 seat hockey arenas.

Hardware Sushi

February 22nd, 2011 at 8:57 PM ^

I disagree with your premise that a strictly Big Ten hockey conference would be the best thing to happen to college hockey. You make it sound like Penn State starting a varsity-level team is somehow doing the other Big Ten hockey schools a favor. PSU doesn't get to call the shots.

"It might be bad for some individual teams, but that doesn't mean it will be bad for college hockey as a sport."

I don't follow. It sounds like you agree that many of the smaller CCHA schools will suffer because of M/MSU/OSU departures but that doesn't hurt college hockey as a whole? I might agree with this sentiment in something like college football, with 120 Division 1 members in a revenue sport, or changing the conference structure of an inexpensive sport like cross-country wouldn't hurt as much. Division 1 hockey is a very expensive sport and, outside of top draws, relies on filling seats to draw revenue. Dramatically changing opponents and rivalry structure will indeed have a dramatic effect on those programs.

Division 1 hockey will have 59 teams in 2012 when Penn State begins. Bowling Green would have already folded without donations from Rob Blake, Scott Hamilton (YTSH), and others. Ferris State and Lake State lose a little money every year but survive due to M/MSU keeping margins smaller and being the biggest shows in town. Northern M surives on the Big Ten schools and rivalries with its UP brethren, LSSU and MTech. Western has great attendance - but look who they're playing - M, MSU, OSU, Ferris State and ND (both less 2 hours away). If some of these schools fold, the leftovers are not only playing the Big Ten schools less, they have less of the old rivalries that still draw crowds. Home opponents won't appear out of nowhere for the leftover CCHA schools.

On the other side of the coin - what is the extraordinary benefit of breaking up the CCHA and Big Ten schools completely? I don't see why the Big Ten hockey conference MUST exist exclusively from the CCHA. For the potential cost of breaking up the CCHA, I don't see the benefit.

One last note - The CCHA is far from the equivalent of the MAC. 5 CCHA programs have won an NCAA title, including M with 9, MSU with 3, LSSU with 3 (NMU and BGSU the others with one). This doesn't include ND, which has made the NCAA title game since hiring coach Jeff Jackson, also coach at LSSU for those titles. Miami is one of the best programs of the last 5 years, ranking in the top 5 most of the past 3. The CCHA has had 3, 4, 4, 4 and 4 teams in the 16-team tournament the past 5 years. Hardly second-tier.

I hope I don't come off as a prick, but I feel like there is a lot of Big Ten-related conjecture on the MgoBoard. I'm not saying I know what will happen, just that there is a lot more at play than throwing together a six-team league for the sake of a few games on the BTN. I posted my reasons below for what I think is most likely to happen.

Alton

February 22nd, 2011 at 10:02 PM ^

Don't worry; you don't come off as a prick at all--you come off as somebody who disagrees with me.  Nothing wrong with that.

Maybe I have a different perspective.  Unlike probably everybody else on this board, I was a season-ticket holder (well, my dad was a season-ticket holder and I went to the games with him) when Michigan was in the WCHA.  There is no particular reason that Michigan should have been attached to the WCHA, and it was the right move to leave them in 1981.  There is no particular reason that Michigan needs to feel attached to the CCHA, either, and it will be the right move when it comes time to leave them as well.

Perhaps I just realize that Big Ten hockey is inevitable (sorry, but it really is) and I am trying to see the bright side, but I really do think that having an 8-team CCHA, a 10-team WCHA and a 6-team Big Ten is much, much better in the long run than having a 12-team CCHA and a 12-team WCHA.  What if Iowa State or Wayne State (ha!) decides to create a hockey team?  How could they even consider it if western hockey were in that 12 CCHA/12 WCHA alignment?  They certainly could consider it, though, if there were only 10 in the WCHA and 8 in the CCHA.

Also, I did not call the CCHA the equivalent of the MAC (I think that is a misinterpretation of my point), but now that you mention it, when is the last time that the CCHA was one of the 2 best conferences in the nation?  1995?  Is it even #3 this year, or has it dropped to #4?  Sure, BGSU, LSSU and NMU all won national championships 15 to 30 years ago, but is being in a conference with them making Michigan a better program today?  I think it's hard to make that argument.

Mr Mackey

February 22nd, 2011 at 2:36 PM ^

It wouldn't be a horrible thing, but I think we would need more than 6 teams. Is there any way to bring Miami (NTM) and other CCHA teams into the conference for just hockey?

Hardware Sushi

February 22nd, 2011 at 3:17 PM ^

Yes, we can have more than 6 teams by adding PSU to the CCHA haha.

In all seriousness, I don't really understand where Battista is going with this. Obviously, he's at the front lines of PSU's efforts to get their program up and running, but he just seems to be talking out of his ass with regards to what the rest of the CCHA (re: the relationship of Michigan schools with M/MSU) members actually prefer. It makes sense that he has a PSU-centric view, but if he thinks he has much say in where PSU will end up, he's out of his mind. PSU hockey will go where they are instructed to by Michigan, MSU, Jim Delaney, Tom Anastos, etc.

By no means do I mean that in a harsh way, it's just PSU doesn't really hold the cards here. They're chained to a massive athletic department that is wholly associated with the Big Ten - there isnt any risk they're going to end up playing in HE or ECAC. I believe the most accurate quote from Battista was this:

"When it's all said and done, any of the members of the Big Ten know their conference affiliation on an athletic department basis is what allows their athletic departments to function. That revenue sharing from television and tickets is what pays for a lot of other sports. So that allegiance to the conference is important."

Michigan and MSU know, as well, that conference affiliation with M & MSU (and OSU ugh) is integral to Ferris/LSSU/Northern/Western (Miami/BGSU) maintaining a division I hockey program, much in the same way football pays for other sports at Big Ten institutions.

Waggles poses a great problem with a Big Ten hockey conference, which is that we need more than six. I still think the solution, at least until college hockey can grow further, is a hybrid conference. Games among M, MSU, OSU, Wisc, Minny, and PSU will count toward a Big Ten conference record, while those intra-CCHA games (M-MSU, M-PSU, M-OSU) will still count toward the CCHA conference record.

Big Ten games are televised on BTN. CCHA games can be optioned for BTN if FSN/Comcast doesn't have rights. This schedule arrangement adds between 4 games for Michigan (2=PSU + 1Wisc + 1Minn since M and MSU already play Minn/Wisc each year in the College Hockey Showcase) to 6 for Minn/Wisc (2PSU + 2OSU + 1M + 1MSU). Because there is an unequal number of games among CCHA regular season opponents as is, this really doesn't affect the CCHA schedule drastically.

If officials want to hold a Big Ten Conference tourny, I don't know how they would fit it into the schedule. Otherwise, I believe a hybrid solves most of issues associated with a Big Ten hockey conference. Sorry for such a long post.

redwings8831

February 22nd, 2011 at 3:26 PM ^

I really want a hybrid-conference (like you explained) also. Just one other thing, this past season was the last year of the College Hockey Showcase. Wisconsin backed out and it fell apart. Michigan State/Minnesota have set up a home/home over the next two seasons. No idea if we're playing either next year or how we'll fill the spot.

http://www.startribune.com/sports/110713064.html

Mlaw2010

February 22nd, 2011 at 2:41 PM ^

I think a Big Ten Conference would be pretty cool.  Only question is exactly what it will do to the rest of college hockey.  I'm thinking you'll see the WCHA stand at 10 teams and the CCHA stand at 8 for the time being.  I'll be curious to see if there is any shuffling of teams into those conferences from HE or the ECAC to fill out the ranks eventually.

I'm also concerned that the B1G hockey league will add another auto-bid, reducing the at-large bids to just 10.

Wingman3

February 22nd, 2011 at 2:43 PM ^

I don't think a BTHC would all that good either.  I think the smaller schools would fold even though some schedule agreements would/could be arranged.  I agree with goblue6712 it seemed strange that UAH was denied to those that don't follow hockey, but I remember reading around that time as well that PSU was considering jumping to D1 for the spot but decided they wouldn't be ready.  now a couple years later this guy says lets get this done and the spot is still there.

 

If the sport expands and more smaller schools are able to develop viable programs in the future then I could see a BTHC but not this quickly. 

 

I could see some sort of scheduling agreement between BT schools to play each other and award a BT Title.  The Ivy league does that with wrestling, they're in "Wrestling East" or something like that I can't remember and then among those Ivy schools they award their own crown.

Srock

February 22nd, 2011 at 3:11 PM ^

I see this as more of an option, but in a different view. I can see a situation where PSU joins the CCHA or even Hockey East or ECAC, and the WCHA stays in tack. However, all 6 Big The Hockey schools play each other at least 2 times per year and they can have an non-auto NCAA invite champ, why not?

Though, the other items that make this interesting, would be further growth of the Big Ten. What if ND joins with say, Boston College? Now that becomes an 8 team hockey conference with interesting rivals and games....

In all thought the big winner is college hockey. A school with the fandom, money and reach such as Penn State becoming a D-1 program will make hockey bigger. PA as a state is already a hockey hot bed. I can also see an outdoor game at Beaver Stadium - Saturday night could be Penn State vs. Michigan or MSU or maybe BC or BU / Maine and then on Sunday Pens vs. Flyers.... 

 

Corey

February 22nd, 2011 at 4:13 PM ^

 Hockey East is pretty stable and I don't see much happening to it anytime soon.  The Boston core is just too solid, with virtually every team in the conference within a 2 or 3-hour drive of the city, and they already get on TV a fair amount through NESN.  

The Claw

February 22nd, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

What could make the Presidents agree to all Big Ten league is the addition Indiana and Notre Dame.  When this topic first came out, it was said Indiana was seriously looking at adding hockey as well.  And if Notre Dame ever joined, that would make 8 teams.  I bet Indiana waits and sees how PSU does the first year and then moves forward if they see it a a profitable situation.  And if the Big Ten ever expands to 16 teams, then we'll probably get Notre Dame.  Would make one helluva conference.  Something I'd like to see.

Hardware Sushi

February 22nd, 2011 at 3:23 PM ^

Indiana and Illinois would love to have hockey programs. The problem is more than just recruiting talent.

They need their own Terry Pegula to pay $XX million for a viable stadium arena and get funding off the ground to support 25ish men's hockey scholarships as well as the 25 women's Title IX scholarships. Starting a hockey program, let alone a self-reliant one, is tough without a rink and accompanying fanbase to pay to see them play.

I have no idea whether these schools will be able to do something about it or not - but I've always liked the idea of Northwestern getting a team so we could have a presence in Chi-town. There are plenty of loaded NU grads around and plenty of hockey/Big Ten fans in Chicago...

bklein09

February 22nd, 2011 at 2:59 PM ^

Well regardless of what any of us think, the big ten conference seems to be a sure thing. In the article it says that pay is unlikely To join another conference as a go between.
<br>
<br>In addition I think That the wcha and ccha would bs fine with the losses. The ha has Denver, Colorado college, north Dakota, minny duluth, and the list goes on. The ccha would still have Miami, notre dame, and a Number of other teams That have great tradition like Lake state, ferris, and northern.
<br>
<br>It's not like the big ten conference would completely guy the ccha. Michigan is a huge loss. But msu is down big time and Ohio state is a joke.
<br>
<br>Personally I think getting a big time conference like the big ten can only help things. Yet a lot of people seem to be Negative about it.

Soulfire21

February 22nd, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

Probably because it will collapse the CCHA -- programs like Western Mich, Miami (OH), Northern Mich, BGSU, etc. will deteriorate.

Don't get me wrong, a Big Ten Hockey Conference would certainly be fun -- but it'll likely do much more damage because it happens so fast.  As much as I want to be like "well, psh, f%@k those small schools" I just can't do it.

Leave the CCHA an empty, lifeless shell -- likely to collape into itself and be irrelevant in the next couple years all for a 6 team conference?

Mehh..

joeyb

February 22nd, 2011 at 3:45 PM ^

I don't see where the problem is. All of the MAC and directional schools that we play will still be available for OOC games. With 6 teams, if everyone play each team twice at home and twice away, that would account for 20 conference games. That leaves lots of openings for games against Miami(NTM), WMU, NMU, BGSU, ND, etc. Even if each of the matchups had a home-and-home added, that would be 30 conference games with room for those matchups. It gives an easy revenue stream for teams like Indiana and Illinois to start programs. It gives ND another reason to think about joining the Big Ten. I like every bit of this.

Soulfire21

February 22nd, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

"I don't see where the problem is. All of the MAC and directional schools that we play will still be available for OOC games."

Not if they don't have hockey programs.  The thinking is that if M, OSU, and MSU leave the CCHA, they're pretty much the "Notre Dame and everyone else" conference.  Without the draw that MSU/M/OSU give, the conference probably won't sustain itself, and the smaller programs will probably end their hockey programs.

bklein09

February 22nd, 2011 at 4:51 PM ^

The idea that the smaller programs in the CCHA would fold their hockey programs without Michigan, MSU, and OSU is crazy to me. And the same goes for the WCHA.

Sure you may lose a Bowling Green or Michigan Tech, but those programs are almost on their way out as is.

The whole idea is that teams like Ferris, Northern, Lake State, etc will lose revenue by not being able to play the Michigan's of the world. Not simply that these teams wont be in their conference. 

And that problem of lost ticket revenue can be fixed by scheduling. With a 20 game conference schedule, the Big Ten teams would have around 14 non-conference slots to fill up. That's 7 weekend sets if you want to look at it that way. Why couldn't Michigan play ND, Miami, Northern, Lake State, Western, etc in two game sets? That would basically be exactly what we have now wouldn't it?

People on this board keep talking about keeping the CCHA as is and having a Big Ten side conference. Well I dont think that is an option. What is an option is kind of a reverse, where we have the Big Ten but still play all the CCHA teams. 

Ticket Revenue? Check. Rivalries Maintained? Check. Expanded Popularity of College Hockey? Check. Me Getting to Watch Almost Every Michigan Game from the West Coast? Check.

I will be a happy man.

jmblue

February 22nd, 2011 at 5:55 PM ^

I'm not so sure about the "expanded popularity of college hockey" part.  If you take out Michigan, MSU and OSU, the CCHA becomes a MAC-like conference.  I think you'll see all the remaining CCHA programs lose visibility as fans gravitate toward the Big Ten teams.  This will in turn hurt their ability to recruit, as the top players won't want to compete in a second-tier league.  This wouldn't be bad for Michigan, but I don't think it'd be very good for the sport as a whole.  It'd be a rich-get-richer deal.

grsbmd

February 22nd, 2011 at 5:50 PM ^

Forming a B1G conference still leaves both the CCHA and WCHA in good shape.  The CCHA still has Miami and Notre Dame.  The WCHA still has Denver and North Dakota.

Plus, having a 6-team conference leaves plenty of OOC games.  If we play 4 games against every other B1G opponent, that's enough room for a home-and-home with almost every remaining CCHA school.  And that would be no different than it currently is.

With 3 schools gone from the CCHA, it will be that much easier for a smaller school to win a title in the conference.

MGoKereton

February 22nd, 2011 at 5:36 PM ^

I would even disagree with the "Notre Dame and everyone else" conference.  Miami(OH) has been solid for the past few years and even Western is challenging for a tourney spot.  Alaska, Ferris, and NMU have seemed to be solid middle teams (heck, Northern went to the CCHA finals last year).  Bowling Green might end up folding on its own, anyway.  Maybe with the loss of the Big Ten schools the CCHA takes in UAH and another school to keep it worthy of an autobid, but I still see it as a legit conference that we'll probably dip into very often for games. 

If the six-team BTHC works out and gets some good publicity (hell, all 6 teams should be decent-excellent), you may start to see some of the other Big Ten schools eyeing a hockey team as well.  I'm actually pretty excited for this.

Michigan Arrogance

February 22nd, 2011 at 5:42 PM ^

If the ECAC member schools can survive with hockey teams, the CCHA - M, MSU, OSU certainly can. The WCHA is and will be stong enough w/ the Col schools, NoDak and the Minn satellites. I can see UAF heading to the WCHA to join their intrastate rival UAA. Maybe convince Air Force to join to even out the league or get CU-boulder.

The CCHA is in a more precarious position certianly, as they lose 3 of the top traditional/current powers. Maybe they can get MTU from the WCHA, or investigate UAH joining or taking other new teams. Either way, with the strength of the ND and Miami programs they are in as good a shape as the ECAC, the old CHA or Atlantic Hockey conferences.

The bottom line is, the B10 hockey conferences opens a door for growth of the sport that just isn't there right now

Seth9

February 22nd, 2011 at 6:04 PM ^

Atlantic Hockey isn't doing so well revenue-wise and the old CHA is called the old CHA because it fell apart. And the deadweight in the ECAC is not in as bad of shape as the deadweight in the CCHA.

The CCHA would have two relatively new powers in Notre Dame and Miami and a host of struggling programs. The only way the CCHA survives is if the old members keep the weaker members of the conference afloat. Fortunately, that is quite doable.

lhglrkwg

February 22nd, 2011 at 6:21 PM ^

CCHA - Michigan - Ohio State - Michigan State + Michigan Tech + Alabama-Huntsville = a terrible terrible conference

past Miami (NTM) and Notre Dame (which, HAHA shoulda joined the big ten suckers) who in that conference is a tourney team?

Good:
Miami
Notre Dame

Ok:
Ferris
Western
Northern
Alaska-Fairbanks

Bad:
Lake Superior State

Terrible:
Alabama-Huntsville (4-26-2)
Bowling Green          (8-22-4)
Michigan Tech           (4-24-4)
 

bklein09

February 22nd, 2011 at 8:00 PM ^

You do know that OSU rarely if ever makes the tourney and MSU hasn't been in 3 years (including this year)?

This season, Western, Northern, and a couple other teams are better than MSU and OSU. And this isnt that rare. 

Last season 3 CCHA teams made the tourney. Michigan, Miami, and Northern.

So I really wouldnt worry about the CCHA that much. They will have a minimum of two tourney teams each season with 3 pretty likely. 

As for the Big Ten, they will also only get 3 teams in regularly until MSU, OSU, or PSU get up to par. 

Seth9

February 22nd, 2011 at 9:29 PM ^

First of all, the biggest problem is the loss of visibility that will occur from this. The big TV draws come from major schools with a prestigious track record of more than a few years. For this reason, Michigan and MSU are the most valuable programs in the conference and OSU at worst is the 5th most valuable team. Considering that the lower tier of the conference is struggling enough as it is (Bowling Green in particular is in dire straits), the loss of the Big Ten programs from their schedules would be devestating.

Furthermore, the loss of the two most storied programs in the conference will reduce the conference's prestige, thus damaging the prospects for long-term success on the part of Notre Dame and Miami. They should still be able to remain good programs, but they cannot be relied on to both make the tournament on a yearly basis.

Finally, having multiple good teams in your conference is highly important when it comes to making the NCAA tournament when your on the bubble. A weak conference drags down your overall schedule strength, and schedule strength accounts for 75% of a team's RPI rating, the most important factor in the Pairwise. Furthermore, it makes it more difficult for the mediocre teams in your conference to achieve a .5000 RPI rating, which in turn has a detrimental effect on the TUC category in the Pairwise.

Michigan Arrogance

February 22nd, 2011 at 10:58 PM ^

There's no doubt that the CCHA would struggle mroe than they do now, it's a matter of degree. I think there would be more room to expand and more overall exposure for the college game if the B10 conf formed. It certainly outweighs the risks, IME:

  • small CCHA teams need to schedule the big boys to sustain their programs, else they will fold: well, given a 6 team B10 that would surely play 20 conf games... that leaves about 16-18 games available for OOC scheduling. I'm sure ND, Miami, Western, etc would be welcome OOC games for any B10 team. If BG can't sustain their program, that responsibility shouldn't fall on Michigan's or the NCAA's shoulders.
  • Rich get richer:  this may be the case, but i still think there is more opportunity for the game to grow with bigger schools participating. Imagine the interest ESPN would have in televising the NCAA tourney with more B10 teams participating.
  • CCHA is now the MAC: I'd still compare them to the ECAC but really, how much better  than the ECAC has the CCHA been the last 10 years? It's hard to argue that the CCHA is better than HE or the WCHA which puts them right above the ECAC anyway. Either way, the CCHA is the 3rd from the worst conf. in college hockey.

Seth9

February 22nd, 2011 at 11:38 PM ^

The only way I can see for NCAA hockey to actually expand is for college hockey TV revenues to increase significantly and the easiest way for that to happen is for the Big Ten to have a hockey conference. However, the Big Ten teams should work to ensure that the programs they leave behind can remain viable. I do not say this out of sentiment, but because it is in the Big Ten's interest for NCAA hockey to expand in both size and popularity and that will not happen if programs start folding. Because as NCAA hockey expands in size and popularity, the value of Big Ten hockey broadcasts will increase, which will lead other Big Ten teams to form hockey programs, which will further expand NCAA popularity, which will further increase the value of Big Ten hockey broadcasts, etc. until NCAA hockey is significantly larger and more popular. And that is good for everyone.

Also, the CCHA has been far superior to the ECAC over the last 10 years. Not only do we get more tournament teams, but the mid-level teams in our conference have typically been superior to the ECAC's. This is probably the best year in ECAC hockey over the past decade, a really bad year for the CCHA, and the leagues are about equal top to bottom.

lhglrkwg

February 22nd, 2011 at 6:05 PM ^

on the one hand, it would be totally awesome to have a big ten hockey conference. i'd get to see way way more michigan hockey, plus its always cool to see a wisconsin v minnesota game. plus the addition of penn state and maybe indiana or illinois would be awesome

however, i still think its detrimental to college hockey. the wcha will be fine, as fare as i know, none of those schools are in trouble. i am more concerned though about smaller ccha schools. obviously bowling green is on the brink but i think it would hurt other teams too. all of those schools basically go from being the equivalent of a big-6 football school to playing in the MAC of hockey. they will become atlantic hockey II

HOWEVA, i could also see how this would be better for college hockey because it would give a home to DIII or DI club teams looking to jump up if the ccha and wcha got a little weaker. the ccha might take in UAH and im sure theres a ton of other DI club teams that wish they could make the jump but arent there financially. this would at least take one obstacle out of the way (finding a conference)....so maybe i just convinced myself that its good for college hockey

funkywolve

February 22nd, 2011 at 6:07 PM ^

I could be wrong but I'm guessing Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan will pull decent ratings on the big ten network.  Even though there will only be 6 schools, does whatever revenue is made off the hockey coverage get distributed to all 12 schools or just the 6 that play hockey?

justingoblue

February 22nd, 2011 at 6:14 PM ^

My guess would be yes, although I would think that could be a negotating point for bringing M/W/Minn into the Big Ten. I'd think that there are sports that OSU/Michigan/PSU have that, say, Northwestern, don't. If they get onto the Big Ten Network, I would think the revenue would be shared.

Granted, I would bet anything they don't put up ratings numbers like Michigan/MSU hockey would in Michigan.

joeyb

February 23rd, 2011 at 2:43 PM ^

I'm torn between all 12 and just the 6. There isn't a good way to designate advertising revenue as Hockey money, but it also gives other schools no incentive to create a Hockey program to add to the value of the channel. They might only consider it if they have guarantees from schools that they will create Hockey programs in the near future.