Saint Paul, Minnesota – Recently, I was listening to a weekly podcast of College Hockey Tonight, and the host Scott Williams and Moose Richards were talking about the break of and reformation of the WCHA.
Shameless plug department. First, if you’re not listening to the College Hockey Tonight on KBUN, I highly recommend that you give them a listen. They both know the game of hockey very well and their podcast sound very good, quality wise. You can listen to their podcast by going to KBUN.COM and all of their podcast from this season are archived on the site.
You can also listen to the podcasts on you smart phone. I listen to most of their podcasts when I work out at the gym or in the car on longer trips.
The gist of the conversation during the podcast in question:
“What are we doing here?” host Moose Richards said.
Come to think of it, that is a really good question.
I mean we can go on and on about the B1G and the NCHC and point fingers, but that discussion is probably counter-productive. I understand that the by-laws of the Big Ten require that Minnesota and Wisconsin join their league once they had a sixth hockey team. I just wish there was a way to preserve what we have now.
It’s like having a relationship with someone that works and dumping them and going off with some unknown less attractive option.
The WCHA in its current form is hands down the best league in Division I college hockey. Top to bottom, there is no better league in my opinion. We have a great league here and that’s basically blowing up after this season.
Obviously, none of us can control that, so let’s enjoy the moment.
Last night, I was having a discussion on this subject with person that is fan and media member of a team that’s not moving to another league, his team is staying in the new WCHA. Our conclusion was that they will never be able to replicate what we have currently with the WCHA Final Five, never, not in Detroit with the Big Ten hockey conference tourney, not at the Target Center for the NCHC conference tourney, or even at the Xcel Center for the New WCHA tourney or for the Big Ten hockey conference tourney. I also don’t think that I am going out on a limb by saying, definitely not for the new WCHA tournament in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s not going to happen.
For good or bad, college hockey landscape will change, as we know it.
Speaking of change, the WCHA is also changing the format of their tourney next season as well; the top eight teams in the WCHA make the playoffs, the bottom two teams will not make the playoffs.
Four teams will advance from the first round of the WCHA playoffs and they will play two semifinal games on Friday night and they have a championship game on Saturday. There will be no more Final Five.
The first WCHA tourney will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan starting in 2015. The Xcel Energy Center will host the 2016 WCHA conference tourney. They will rotate between the two sites, for least the foreseeable future.
Former Fighting Sioux and current Wild forward Zach Parise was asked about his thoughts on the changes the WCHA will go through after the season is over.
“I think it’s brutal, if you ask me,” Parise said. “I don’t like it. I was a big fan of that league, and the rivals that were developed in that league; I think it’s a bad idea.”
When asked who he though would win tonight’s Red Baron WCHA Final Five Broadmoor Championship game between Wisconsin and Colorado College. Parise said, “I would say Wisconsin, but I won’t be watching because North Dakota’s not playing.”
So, one more night of one of the best college hockey tourneys and then we all go our separate ways. No, UND and Minnesota aren’t playing tonight, but really, does it matter? There’s no place I would rather be than right here.
Cross-posted at the Hockey Writers Combine