Sources say college hockey "super league" to begin in 2013-14

Submitted by denverblue on July 7th, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reports that several sources tell him that North Dakota, DU, CC, Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, and Miami (OH) are for sure in, while Notre Dame and Western Michigan are names rumored to be the 7th and 8th members. Official announcement to come next Wednesday.

This would leave Anchorage, Bemidji, Michigan Tech, Mankato, and St. Cloud high and dry from the WCHA, as well as Fairbanks, Bowling Green, Ferris, LSSU, and NMU from the CCHA.



July 7th, 2011 at 6:30 PM ^

I know Duluth had an incredible season this past year (obviously) and Western has had some strong years as well. 

But overall, I think those two teams can look forward to losing a lot of games in this new league. UNO might be in for some rough years as well. 

Then again, who knows. ND used to be a horrendous team in the CCHA until recently.

This could get quite interesting.

Mr. Robot

July 7th, 2011 at 6:39 PM ^

The remenants of the CCHA and WCHA would probably then pluck members form another conference or perhaps simply merge. Not sure I like this, honestly.

At least we won't have to take any crap for the Big Ten ruining college hockey. Michigan and Wisconsin are the only stable programs right now anyway, but all those big hockey-name teams forming their own league will absolutely destroy the leftovers.

I Blue Myself

July 7th, 2011 at 8:05 PM ^

That's true, but I think you're kidding yourself if you don't see a connection between the two.  Schools like Miami and Notre Dame are feeling pressure to form a superconference because they see the Big Ten coming into existence, and they don't want to be left behind.  Without the Big Ten schools, the CCHA starts to look like a mid-major, and I don't blame the two power programs left for wanting to improve their status.  Part of the desire to move up may be because of ego, but those schools are likely to face a recruiting disadvantage against Big Ten schools if they stay where they are.


July 7th, 2011 at 8:05 PM ^

That may be the case, but if somehow college hockey is "ruined" by realignment as Mr. Robot said might happen, I'm sure there will be people who point at the Big Ten adding hockey as the beginning of the sport's downfall. Here's how one writer put it:

These are the dominos falling ever since Penn State announced it was adding hockey last year. That gave the Big Ten six teams — enough to make the sport league-official — and WCHA members Minnesota and Wisconsin, along with the CCHA's Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State, announced they were leaving their respective conferences after the 2012-13 season. 
The remaining "power" hockey programs appear to be pooling their muscle in order to rival that league.

So this guy says the formation of the superconference is a direct reaction to the Big Ten adding the sport. You may not think the Big Ten started all this, but others will certainly disagree.

Mr. Robot

July 7th, 2011 at 8:51 PM ^

Sure, the Big Ten technically "started" it, but when there were enough teams to make it happened it was a natural and forseen thing due to our affiliation in pretty much every other sport. As I said, only Michigan and Wisconsin are solid programs at the moment. Minnesota has been crap for a while now, MSU is in a tailspin, OSU has always been a doormat, and PSU is a start-up.

These guys are strong teams that are big names in the hockey world who are, practically on a dime, getting ready to throw their leftover conference mates to the hounds. North Dakota, Notre Dame, Miami, etc are all more than capable of selling tickets without Big Ten teams around because they are good and because their hockey fans care more about how good the opponent is at hockey, not how good they are at football. Doing this is only going to make life tougher on them as they beat the crap out of each other and its going to make the other schools form a long-distance ECAC.

Basically what I'm saying is that B1G hockey was seen coming and was a natural thing to occur. This is a knee-jerk reaction by some only-good-at-hockey schools who got their pride somehow hurt because the Big Ten schools wants to play each other like they do in every other sport.

I Blue Myself

July 7th, 2011 at 11:18 PM ^

Apparently, the superconference teams disagree with you, and feel threatened enough to try to band together to form a superconference that will drive up their own travel expenses and do away with conference rivalries that have existed for decades. 

The threat the Big Ten presents is not about how good those teams are right now, but rather the resources and potential they have.  Minnesota and MSU are traditional powerhouses, just like Michigan in football.  They'll be back.  More importantly, the Big Ten will have all brand-name schools and will have a very large percentage of its games nationally televised on BTN.  It will be perceived instantly as a major power, whereas the remnants of the CCHA will look a lot like the MAC.  Penn State may be no better than Bowling Green at actually playing hockey, but it's much more attractive to play in a league with Penn State.

In that situation, I can completely understand why Miami and Notre Dame would feel threatened and want to jump to a league made of mostly WCHA powers.  They still won't be on even footing with the Big Ten in a lot of ways, but the excellence of that conference on the ice will make up a lot of the difference.

Yes, it's bad for college hockey as a whole for these teams to move, but I can understand why from a competitive standpoint they would want to, and might feel compelled to.


July 7th, 2011 at 6:50 PM ^

those other 9 should just form their own conference

Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mankato , St Cloud , Bemidji

Bowling Green, Ferris, LSSU, NMU .

their is 16 weeks plus conference scheduling right their so theirs 3 weeks = 19 weeks

schedule 5-6 weekends of non conference play and your set

I think these 9 schools can work out deals to play all the teams in the big ten and this new conference .

it actually may work more to their benefit in the long run




Naked Bootlegger

July 7th, 2011 at 10:02 PM ^ asking the same question ("But what about Michigan Tech?).  That's the only D1 game in town for Houghton, MI.   Although a new conference consisting of leftovers from the CCHA/WCHA might allow Tech's rebuilding project to gain some momentum quickly!

I Blue Myself

July 7th, 2011 at 7:37 PM ^

. . . and I was already seriously concerned about the long-term viability of my hockey program, I think I might shut it down rather than join that conference.  

Of all those teams, only Ferris is within reasonable driving distance.  Maybe LSSU.  You'd have to fly to every other road game.  And none of those schools are big draws for home games.  You'd be taking a big hit just to keep competing in a sport that most people in Ohio don't care about and that hurts you for Title IX compliance.


July 7th, 2011 at 7:30 PM ^

Doesn't this seem kind of dumb for those schools?  it's not good for college hockey if the number of total programs starts dropping precipitously.  Part of what makes a league work is the teams with the most natural advantages helping those without them stay afloat.



July 7th, 2011 at 7:54 PM ^

and will probably be good for the game...but what will out weigh that is the death of programs.

I think NMU, LSSU, MTU, BGSU are all in serious risk now of losing their programs...which was and is my biggest fear in the whole BTHC saga.

big gay heart

July 7th, 2011 at 9:26 PM ^

If BTN could have left well enough alone, none of this would have happened. Now you have 6 or so programs that will have to make a real decision about the viability of maintaining their programs. I can't blame ND, Miami, et al for making moves once it became apparent that they'd be left out in the cold. Increasingly, the people happy with the B10 Hockey league include and are limited to Michigan, Wisconsin, and MSU fans.


July 7th, 2011 at 10:19 PM ^

the WCHA spends more or less it's entire existence talking about how AWESOME!!1 it is and how everyone else sucks. Then you lose Minnesota and Wisconsin, WCHA fans claim they won't miss them and the whole conference has a freakin meltdown because they think they can't compete. what am I missing? I thought they were the greatest hockey conference ever.


July 8th, 2011 at 12:23 AM ^

Minnesota is kind of like The Dude's rug, it really tied the conference together. Fox Sports North has a tv deal with the Gophers that incidentally got other Minnesota schools televised state-wide on a somewhat regular basis, but is FSN going to have any interest in covering a Gopher-less WCHA? The Final Five at the X was a major money draw that got split amongst the teams. What kind of crowds are they going to get when the local Gopher fans no longer have ties to the conference? Is the X even going to let them play there, with the kind of attendance it would bring in? Minneapolis is a very convenient place for scouts to come, with it's major airport, NHL team, and local high school talent that may be of interest. I guess Denver might be comparable, but you're still going to see less scouts watching WCHA teams.


July 8th, 2011 at 11:53 AM ^

...College Hockey News about the conference realignment situation is pretty much spot on.

Maybe this is what's best for the game. It almost certainly will lead to more exposure, more interest, more revenue for the programs in the new leagues. And as the better recruits gravitate towards those leagues and programs, it should give us some pretty good hockey.

But we can't help but think about all the programs whose futures are left hanging in the balance. The hope is that they'll be able to band together somehow and forge a new identity that will work for them. Reality, however, indicates that some may have to scale back their investment and support. And some may have no choice but to stop playing.

We're not looking to lay blame here with anyone in particular. No one is to blame.

But when you look at it as a whole, everyone is to blame.

This is what we wanted, for so many years.

Now we've got it.