Well, Notre Dame has finally made their decision on what conference they want to be a part of for the 2013-14 season. After weighing all of their options, the Fighting Irish have decided to become member of Hockey East. It had been reported that the Fighting Irish had wanted to be a member of the NCHC because it was in Notre Dame’s geographical foot print, but in the end, the NCHC leadership didn’t want to allow the Irish to have their own television deal with VERSUS/NBC Sports Network and made the announcement last week that they were fine going forward with eight schools.
Honestly it’s a little puzzling to why the NCHC didn’t want to allow the Fighting Irish to have their own television deal. While it’s not a deal breaker, it would’ve been nice to have the Fighting Irish in the NCHC to start the 2013-14 season.
I have been on record in the past as saying that the newly formed NCHC will be fine with or without the Fighting Irish and that the NCHC has a solid base of schools to work with. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the NCHC will truly be one of the power conferences in Division I college hockey, no matter what the naysayers say.
If you’re not sold on my reasoning yet, let’s break it further, five of the top 10 teams in all three preseason polls (CHN, USCHO, USA Today) are going to be members of the newly formed NCHC to start the 2013-14 season. If you’re still not convinced, the eight teams that make up the NCHC have a combined 17 NCAA titles among them (DU 7, UND 7, UMD 1, C.C. 2).
The newly-formed B1G is only other league that has more NCAA titles than the NCHC (Michigan 9, Wisconsin 6, and Minnesota 5). Whether you want to admit it the NCHC has the making of being a pretty good hockey league. So with Notre Dame going to Hockey East this is where we are currently at for college hockey conferences in the west, but there could be another addition to the WCHA, as the University of Alabama Huntsville is looking for a conference to call home.