Today the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) added two more teams bringing the number of league teams to eight, Western Michigan University and Saint Cloud State University officially accepted invitations to join the NCHC. Here are some of the comments and themes that emerged from today’s press conference that was held at Saint Cloud. With the subtraction of SCSU the WCHA now has eight teams; Bemidji State University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University, Minnesota State University Mankato, Northern Michigan University, Michigan Tech University, University of Alaska Anchorage, and University of Alaska Fairbanks. The WCHA is waiting to see if Bowling Green State University will accept an open invitation to join the WCHA.
Not originally in the Mix:
When the NCHC was first announced this past summer, the SCSU Huskies were originally left out of the mix and were not one of the founding charter members of the NCHC. After being originally snubbed by the NCHC, there were a lot of things that were said by the SCSU President Dr. Earl Potter; frankly some of his comments were puzzling. Ironically today, SCSU accepted an invitation to join the NCHC. I have always been told that you don’t want to burn bridges that you might have to cross again as you retreat. Today the SCSU athletic department was in full retrograde mode as they gladly accepted a bid to join the NCHC without reservation or apology. I think that’s what rubs some fans from other teams in the NCHC the wrong way. Their administration said a lot of things when the National was first announced and today it was like they had never made those comments.
Here is what Saint Cloud State University President Dr. Earl Potter had to say today about the selection process. During this past summer we had heard from Potter how SCSU was not interested in joining the NCHC and how the teams in the NCHC were only concerned about themselves. This is what he had to say today.
“They [National] needed room to come together to think to create a process, which they did, in the middle of the summer, a rational fact based process that would be based on the core principles of the new conference and then gather information from potential members that they could use; hold up against their core principles and determine whether or not there was a good fit.”
UND athletic director Brian Faison was asked the following question; “now that the conference is at eight members do you see that as being an optimum number or do you see it growing beyond that?” In reading these comments, most of us know which team Faison is talking about when he talks about the prospects of future teams being added to the mix.
“Yes and no. I don’t think there is a set number in our mind, eight works very well in the sense that it’s a a perfect round robin schedule right now because everyone is in everyone rink. From a conference post season perspective, eight works well, in terms in how you structure that, but at the same time that doesn’t preclude us from looking at nine and if it’s the right team is out there for number nine, we would definitely look at that.”
Where do we go from here?
If I were a betting man I would say that there are a few more dominos yet to fall yet this year. Bowling Green State University has one day left in their 30 day period where they need to tell the WCHA commissioner if the Falcons intend to join the league or not, some seem to think that they’re not on a hard dead line and might still be looking for an invitation to join the NCHC. The other team that has yet to pick a conference is Notre Dame and the Irish seem to be waiting to find out where the rest of their sports teams are going to up when Division I football and Basketball are done blowing their conferences up. This isn’t done yet, folks.