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UND and the Changing Landscape of College Hockey

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Other than Minny and Wisco, aren't we all little guys? If they want to leave for supposedly greener pastures, let them... We've been in this conference forever and there's no reason to bail now...the biggest challenge is gettting the WCHA leadership to start thinking bigger and for the future...that means bye-bye Brucie... :)

I'm sure someone will respond to this better than me, but this comment seems like the typical "think small" problem that has been pervasive in North Dakota over the years. First of all, North Dakota is not a "little guy" in college hockey. That's a bordeline preposterous statement. North Dakota is annually second in national attendance, has the nicest facilities, a national television deal, and a great on-ice tradition that produces as many NHL players as anyone. There is a big difference between North Dakota and the much of the rest of the WCHA, especially after the new Ralph. North Dakota has been on the move the past 10 years growing its product and there is no reason to go the other way now. Simply resigning to the fact that we are a "little guy" will surely make it so.

And this doesn't even begin to address the institutional angle to this. UND, as an insitution, is trying to grow in reputation and status. The move to DI is as much about institutional profile as it is about athletics. Kelley commented that a big reason he liked the Big Sky is that he wants UND to be affiliated with like institutions, or even better institutions. You are viewed in large part by the company you keep. That is the institutional goal of conference affiliation that Presidents focus on, as much or more than the actual sports. Of course, with hockey, there aren't as many programs geographically to have a conference that is completely in-line with your institutional make-up. But UND, as a hockey program, and as an institution, benefited tremendously from alligning itself with Big Ten schools over the years. It is a major blow to lose your Big Ten presence in your most visible sport. However, if UND has an opportunity to allign with institutions like Notre Dame and Miami (both excellent institutions), it would go a long way in making-up for the loss of the Big Ten schools.

And to your last comment, I'm not a big fan of Bruce McLeod, but he's not the only person you look at in judging the long-term vision of a conference. A conference is only going to think as big as the membership. The WCHA has pulled up the NSIC schools (and props up Michigan Tech). They built and renovated arenas and invested in their programs to keep up with (or get into) the WCHA. They have been good followers in the WCHA, but they are never going to be the driving force for thinking big and long-term vision. On-ice performance this season aside, the WCHA is losing two of its leading programs, two programs that have forced the rest of the WCHA to invest in hockey. Programs that, along with UND and Denver, have set the bar in the WCHA. If you want UND to be in a conference that "thinks big" and has long-term vision, it needs to allign itself with member institutions that have the same institutional goals and vision that UND has. I just don't see that being the WCHA anymore.

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I'm sure someone will respond to this better than me, but this comment seems like the typical "think small" problem that has been pervasive in North Dakota over the years. First of all, North Dakota is not a "little guy" in college hockey. That's a bordeline preposterous statement. North Dakota is annually second in national attendance, has the nicest facilities, a national television deal, and a great on-ice tradition that produces as many NHL players as anyone. There is a big difference between North Dakota and the much of the rest of the WCHA, especially after the new Ralph. North Dakota has been on the move the past 10 years growing its product and there is no reason to go the other way now. Simply resigning to the fact that we are a "little guy" will surely make it so.

And this doesn't even begin to address the institutional angle to this. UND, as an insitution, is trying to grow in reputation and status. The move to DI is as much about institutional profile as it is about athletics. Kelley commented that a big reason he liked the Big Sky is that he wants UND to be affiliated with like institutions, or even better institutions. You are viewed in large part by the company you keep. That is the institutional goal of conference affiliation that Presidents focus on, as much or more than the actual sports. Of course, with hockey, there aren't as many programs geographically to have a conference that is completely in-line with your institutional make-up. But UND, as a hockey program, and as an institution, benefited tremendously from alligning itself with Big Ten schools over the years. It is a major blow to lose your Big Ten presence in your most visible sport. However, if UND has an opportunity to allign with institutions like Notre Dame and Miami (both excellent institutions), it would go a long way in making-up for the loss of the Big Ten schools.

And to your last comment, I'm not a big fan of Bruce McLeod, but he's not the only person you look at in judging the long-term vision of a conference. A conference is only going to think as big as the membership. The WCHA has pulled up the NSIC schools (and props up Michigan Tech). They built and renovated arenas and invested in their programs to keep up with (or get into) the WCHA. They have been good followers in the WCHA, but they are never going to be the driving force for thinking big and long-term vision. On-ice performance this season aside, the WCHA is losing two of its leading programs, two programs that have forced the rest of the WCHA to invest in hockey. Programs that, along with UND and Denver, have set the bar in the WCHA. If you want UND to be in a conference that "thinks big" and has long-term vision, it needs to allign itself with member institutions that have the same institutional goals and vision that UND has. I just don't see that being the WCHA anymore.

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I'm sure someone will respond to this better than me, but this comment seems like the typical "think small" problem that has been pervasive in North Dakota over the years. First of all, North Dakota is not a "little guy" in college hockey. That's a bordeline preposterous statement. North Dakota is annually second in national attendance, has the nicest facilities, a national television deal, and a great on-ice tradition that produces as many NHL players as anyone. There is a big difference between North Dakota and the much of the rest of the WCHA, especially after the new Ralph. North Dakota has been on the move the past 10 years growing its product and there is no reason to go the other way now. Simply resigning to the fact that we are a "little guy" will surely make it so.

And this doesn't even begin to address the institutional angle to this. UND, as an insitution, is trying to grow in reputation and status. The move to DI is as much about institutional profile as it is about athletics. Kelley commented that a big reason he liked the Big Sky is that he wants UND to be affiliated with like institutions, or even better institutions. You are viewed in large part by the company you keep. That is the institutional goal of conference affiliation that Presidents focus on, as much or more than the actual sports. Of course, with hockey, there aren't as many programs geographically to have a conference that is completely in-line with your institutional make-up. But UND, as a hockey program, and as an institution, benefited tremendously from alligning itself with Big Ten schools over the years. It is a major blow to lose your Big Ten presence in your most visible sport. However, if UND has an opportunity to allign with institutions like Notre Dame and Miami (both excellent institutions), it would go a long way in making-up for the loss of the Big Ten schools.

And to your last comment, I'm not a big fan of Bruce McLeod, but he's not the only person you look at in judging the long-term vision of a conference. A conference is only going to think as big as the membership. The WCHA has pulled up the NSIC schools (and props up Michigan Tech). They built and renovated arenas and invested in their programs to keep up with (or get into) the WCHA. They have been good followers in the WCHA, but they are never going to be the driving force for thinking big and long-term vision. On-ice performance this season aside, the WCHA is losing two of its leading programs, two programs that have forced the rest of the WCHA to invest in hockey. Programs that, along with UND and Denver, have set the bar in the WCHA. If you want UND to be in a conference that "thinks big" and has long-term vision, it needs to allign itself with member institutions that have the same institutional goals and vision that UND has. I just don't see that being the WCHA anymore.

This was well thought out and well written. The Big 10 move hurts us and hurts the WCHA. We can not act in the interest of all here, rather we must be self serving in order to preserve that which we've earned.

Otherwise the "Gopher Reject" chant that is applicable to UMD, BSU, MSU, SCSU will soon be a "Big 10 Reject" chant and will be applicable to UND.

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As to the origional post question as to wether UND will be reactive or proactive, I'd like to think that the university leadership would recognize the issue and lead on it but hey lets be honest here past history does not indicate a common thread of capability in this area.

Logo, name, division, conference affiliation, ledershio in all these areas has been por at best.

Also can thr spammer posting page slowing gifs and crap above be removed?

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I know there is already a thread about the new Big Ten Hockey Conference, but I'm starting this to talk about UND's option for the future.

Option 1 (Status Quo WCHA)

Essentially this option would be soldiering on as a 10 team WCHA minus Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Pros - North Dakota is the unquestioned flagship program in this conference. Maintain remaining conference rivalries.

Cons - WCHA is weakened in national exposure and historical prestige. Current conference leadership is very weak and lacks vision, has done very little in terms of innovation. League scheduling issues could arise, especially if McLeod sets up agreement with UM/UW, limiting non-conference opportunities with eastern teams.

Option 2 (WCHA on steroids)

Add Miami and Notre Dame to return to 12 team conference.

Pros - Adds two currently strong programs to existing league. League schedule would be similar to now, with Miami and Notre Dame pairing simply replacing UM/UW

Cons - Unlikely that they will join, travel would be a huge issue, and few rivalries exist. Would likely kill the CCHA or at least render it a western version of Atlantic Hockey. While new additions are currently solid, do not have a long-term track record of success. Existing conference leadership is till very poor.

Option 3 (Hockey West)

Start a new league (Hockey West) with the following: Alaska, Alaska-Anchorage, Denver, Colorado College, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota and British Columbia (or Air Force)

Conference schedule would be 24 games (2 series against each opponent)

Pros - Would create a first truly western conference, with room for expansion for big-name Western schools. 4 games in Alaska allows for 38 game regular season, so 14 non conference games available. UND maintains rivalries with fellow WCHA charter members Denver and CC.

Cons - No Minnesota schools in conference, could have impact on recruiting. 2 series in Alaska (although this could be mitigated by doing in a single trip). UBC is a total unknown. Conference tourney final four likely in Denver, but draw would be unknown (UND would likely still turn out a lot of fans - could pair Hockey West Final Four with a ski trip)

Option 4 (MAC Hockey)

New League sponsored by the Mid America Conference (7 of 8 members would be full Division I schools)

East - Notre Dame, Miami, Western Michigan, Bowling Green West - North Dakota, Denver, Colorado College and Nebraska Omaha

League schedule would be 18 games, with 2 series within division and single series against other division.

Pros - Maintains long-time rivalries with Denver and CC. Strength of conference would be good with most schools showing major commitment to hockey. Divisional setup minimizes travel issues. MAC sponsorship would give voting rights as all sport league same as the Big Ten (similar to MAAC prior to Atlantic Hockey). 16 non-conference games would allow for games against former WCHA foes as well as eastern clubs.

Cons - eastern division arenas all much smaller than those in west. No obvious location for neutral site conference championship. Again, no Minnesota teams in conference could have negative recruiting impact. Western Michigan has just regained footing, bug struggled substantially in recent years and Bowling Green on shaky footing.

Option 5 (Western Power Conference)

A new league forms with the following members

North Dakota, Nebraska Omaha, Denver, Colorado College, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami and Notre Dame

24 game conference slate - 2 series with each team

Pros - Incredible depth top to bottom, all programs committed to hockey, all top notch facitilies existing or soon to open. Solid potential for league TV contract (FSN North, Rocky Mountain, Ohio, Altitude)

Cons - Only 10 non-conference games to cover former WCHA rivals as well as eastern teams. No obvious site for conference tourney. Would likely force a merger of remaining WCHA and CCHA teams from them to remain viable.

Option 6 ("BYU" Option - Independence)

Become an indepenent for hockey

Pros - Could have considerable percentage of home games. Schedule could become national in scope, giving program unprecedented exposure. National scale would be very attractive to recruits and media partners. Rivalries could be maintained via non-conference games.

Cons - Scheduling could be a challenge, especially securing games later in the season. No conference tournament would mean layoff prior to NCAA tournament if there are no other independents to schedule during that timeframe. No shot at autobid if having a down season.

I think the recurring theme is that whatever future league UND is in, it will be the meal ticket in, so we should not hesitate to seek favorable conditions, much like UM and UW have done with the WCHA for all these years. Also, the schools we most need to stay aligned with are Denver and Colorado College. At this point, we have the longest history with them (due to Tech's brief CCHA departure) and they are the programs with the most success, best facilities and strongest commitment among remaining WCHA schools. The Northern Sun schools are most likely to cave in to unbalanced scheduling with Minnesota. Tech is likely to seriously consider a downgraded CCHA, where it could be far more competitive. Omaha's program is moving in the direction of the Colorado schools, and Anchorage is in a position where it will do whatever necessary to protect their program. It has few options.

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Option 7 - together with Notre Dame, petition to be affiliate members of the Big Ten for purposes of Hockey.

Posters above seem to split on whether we have an obligation to help hockey, and yes, there is probably some morality to that cause. But as other posters have emphasized, we are a "big" school for hockey, and the University and the hockey program do gain prestige by the company we keep. Losing the Colorado rivalries will be sad, and they and the local, smaller Minnesota schools are still non-conference options.

The Big Ten gains two great programs for hockey, one of which they are wooing for all sports, so it's easy to see them saying "yes" to affiliate status.

The Big Ten Network gets better games, better competition, and we get 1/8 of that revenue. Being on the Big Ten Network means that we might actually get to watch a UND game when the game is out of town.

It gives the Big Ten some clarity about how to deal with women's hockey - they would then have enough teams to also field a conference.

It's plausible, such a move suggests an increase in UND's institutional status, it preserves the Gopher series (in spite of the logo issue), and it promises greater revenue. I hope that we think about it.

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Option 7 - together with Notre Dame, petition to be affiliate members of the Big Ten for purposes of Hockey.

Posters above seem to split on whether we have an obligation to help hockey, and yes, there is probably some morality to that cause. But as other posters have emphasized, we are a "big" school for hockey, and the University and the hockey program do gain prestige by the company we keep. Losing the Colorado rivalries will be sad, and they and the local, smaller Minnesota schools are still non-conference options.

The Big Ten gains two great programs for hockey, one of which they are wooing for all sports, so it's easy to see them saying "yes" to affiliate status.

The Big Ten Network gets better games, better competition, and we get 1/8 of that revenue. Being on the Big Ten Network means that we might actually get to watch a UND game when the game is out of town.

It gives the Big Ten some clarity about how to deal with women's hockey - they would then have enough teams to also field a conference.

It's plausible, such a move suggests an increase in UND's institutional status, it preserves the Gopher series (in spite of the logo issue), and it promises greater revenue. I hope that we think about it.

The Big Ten has no history of ever adding affiliates. The Big Ten would love to add Notre Dame as a full member, but Notre Dame is consistently rebuffed the invitation, which has royally torqued off Delany and embarrassed the Big Ten Presidents who don't forget slights like that to Big Ten prestige. Notre Dame will not get in the BTHC unless it goes in all the way for full membership.

Barry Alvarez had been pushing for a BTHC even before Penn State had announced it's hockey plans. Under Alvarez's football-centric hockey plan, the Big Ten would have invited FBS MAC schools Bowling Green, Miami, and Western Michigan to a BTHC. The Big Ten has an existing scheduling alliance with the MAC (with 90% of games at Big Ten stadiums), which helps ensure that middling Big Ten football schools have winning records. Since all Alvarez seems to know is FBS football, that plan definitely revealed his hockey IQ. That plan was squelched.

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Please repost instructions on how to ignore a poster.

LOL.........Honestly?!?!?.....off season entertainment. First the Legislature, now this!

o-srsly.jpg

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How do scholarships enter into financials of running a program?

In other words, does it cost as much to run WMU's hockey program as it does a comparable ECACHL school's hockey program?

Reason why I ask is: If it costs less to drop scholarships, then why not make the CCHA nonscholarship like the ECACHL?

The WCHA loses 2 teams. The CCHA loses more. The CCHA takes UAH.

I could see Miami and Notre Dame coming to the WCHA or staying in the CCHA. They'd certainly be the big dogs in the CCHA if they stayed. Also, it could help solidify the CCHA's future if they did stay.

WMU this year showed they can be competitive. UAF has shown they have been too. LSSU and NMU have had at least one successful year in their history (not that that means anything but still...tradition is tradition).

Even without Michigan, MSU, tOSU, etc. the CCHA is still a stronger conference than the AHA.

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How do scholarships enter into financials of running a program?

In other words, does it cost as much to run WMU's hockey program as it does a comparable ECACHL school's hockey program?

Reason why I ask is: If it costs less to drop scholarships, then why not make the CCHA nonscholarship like the ECACHL?

The WCHA loses 2 teams. The CCHA loses more. The CCHA takes UAH.

I could see Miami and Notre Dame coming to the WCHA or staying in the CCHA. They'd certainly be the big dogs in the CCHA if they stayed. Also, it could help solidify the CCHA's future if they did stay.

WMU this year showed they can be competitive. UAF has shown they have been too. LSSU and NMU have had at least one successful year in their history (not that that means anything but still...tradition is tradition).

Even without Michigan, MSU, tOSU, etc. the CCHA is still a stronger conference than the AHA.

Both the CCHA and ECAC allow 18 scholarships, the maximum allowed by the NCAA. However, the AHA only allows 12, with some AHA schools (UConn) being totally non-scholarship. The AHA is essentially a DIII league in DI clothing, with a few exceptions (like Niagara and Robert Morris and AFA, RIT can't offer scholarships because of it's DIII status has not been grandfathered to allow it). Some ECAC schools also don't offer scholarships (the Ivy's and maybe Union), but they give huge amounts of aid. The ECAC is full of private schools, so those that do offer scholarships also have very high tuition making the costs are very high. The CCHA tuition costs are much lower, as it is a public school conference (except for Notre Dame).

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Brad Schlossman is reporting via twitter that CCHA Commish Tom Anastoso(sp) is bolting for the Michigan State job. Interesting!

Anastos almost certainly sees the writing on the wall.

IMHO, there is no way that Notre Dame, with all the millions it has invested in its new arena, will stay in the CCHA with Ferris, LSUU, NMU, and Alaska. Notre Dame will take its puck someplace else, probably with Miami, and maybe with Bowling Green, and Western Michigan. The northern and upper Michigan schools do not have the kind of demographics, academics standards, DI status or media that Notre Dame wants. Notre Dame tolerated those schools if it meant hob-knobbing with Mich and MSU, but it won't put up with them after they leave. ND's probably lobbying schools like Pitt, DePaul, Syracuse, and Iowa State. If it can't gain those, it would accept some lower profile schools in larger cities (like Lindenwood from St Louis, Robert Morris from Pittsburgh, and Niagara from Buffalo) and begin its own league.

Maybe Ferris, LSSU, NMU, and Alaska can add Moorhead St, Minot St, Wayne St (MI) and Grand Valley to make a more regional, lower cost league. Wayne St dropped men's hockey when the CCHA refused to take them in. Grand Valley has to capability to start hockey, but just never had a league to join.

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...The northern and upper Michigan schools do not have the kind of demographics, academics standards, DI status or media that Notre Dame wants...

You destroyed any semblance of credibility you might have had.

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You destroyed any semblance of credibility you might have had.

Michigan Tech has tough academic standards, but the demographics and media presence of all the UP schools are atrocious. Upper Michigan has been in economic decline for 120 years. There are almost more people in Cass County than the entire Upper Peninsula.

So you are denying that there is academic snobbery? To Notre Dame, UND isn't up to snuff academically.

I never stated NMU, Ferris and LSSU were lousy schools, just how Notre Dame views them.

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Anastos almost certainly sees the writing on the wall.

IMHO, there is no way that Notre Dame, with all the millions it has invested in its new arena, will stay in the CCHA with Ferris, LSUU, NMU, and Alaska. Notre Dame will take its puck someplace else, probably with Miami, and maybe with Bowling Green, and Western Michigan. The northern and upper Michigan schools do not have the kind of demographics, academics standards, DI status or media that Notre Dame wants. Notre Dame tolerated those schools if it meant hob-knobbing with Mich and MSU, but it won't put up with them after they leave. ND's probably lobbying schools like Pitt, DePaul, Syracuse, and Iowa State. If it can't gain those, it would accept some lower profile schools in larger cities (like Lindenwood from St Louis, Robert Morris from Pittsburgh, and Niagara from Buffalo) and begin its own league.

Maybe Ferris, LSSU, NMU, and Alaska can add Moorhead St, Minot St, Wayne St (MI) and Grand Valley to make a more regional, lower cost league.

Any chance that a school such as Marquette, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and/or Wisconsin-Green Bay would add hockey? It seems like the state of Wisconsin could easily support more than one dI program, and the facilities are already in place in Milwaukee and Green Bay.

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On a separate note, it seems odd that Michigan State would hire a guy that hasn't coached since 1992 and only has 5 years of coaching experience.

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I would say that in a few years two things will be evident. First, things didn't turn out as good for the BTHC as the participants envisioned, and two, things didn't turn out as bad for the WCHA as some people envisioned. Good programs thrive on their own merits.

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Any chance that a school such as Marquette, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and/or Wisconsin-Green Bay would add hockey? It seems like the state of Wisconsin could easily support more than one dI program, and the facilities are already in place in Milwaukee and Green Bay.

Probably not soon. Marquette's already committed to starting M&W lacrosse, which will be a significant cost. Wisconsin's university system is going through some cutbacks.

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I can see maybe a conference flip flop of teams....Mich Tech bolts for the CCHA, Alaska to the WCHA, UAH to the CCHA, and the BTHC begging other Big Ten schools to start up hockey...Nebraska, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.

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I'm sure someone will respond to this better than me, but this comment seems like the typical "think small" problem that has been pervasive in North Dakota over the years. First of all, North Dakota is not a "little guy" in college hockey. That's a bordeline preposterous statement. North Dakota is annually second in national attendance, has the nicest facilities, a national television deal, and a great on-ice tradition that produces as many NHL players as anyone. There is a big difference between North Dakota and the much of the rest of the WCHA, especially after the new Ralph. North Dakota has been on the move the past 10 years growing its product and there is no reason to go the other way now. Simply resigning to the fact that we are a "little guy" will surely make it so.

And this doesn't even begin to address the institutional angle to this. UND, as an insitution, is trying to grow in reputation and status. The move to DI is as much about institutional profile as it is about athletics. Kelley commented that a big reason he liked the Big Sky is that he wants UND to be affiliated with like institutions, or even better institutions. You are viewed in large part by the company you keep. That is the institutional goal of conference affiliation that Presidents focus on, as much or more than the actual sports. Of course, with hockey, there aren't as many programs geographically to have a conference that is completely in-line with your institutional make-up. But UND, as a hockey program, and as an institution, benefited tremendously from alligning itself with Big Ten schools over the years. It is a major blow to lose your Big Ten presence in your most visible sport. However, if UND has an opportunity to allign with institutions like Notre Dame and Miami (both excellent institutions), it would go a long way in making-up for the loss of the Big Ten schools.

And to your last comment, I'm not a big fan of Bruce McLeod, but he's not the only person you look at in judging the long-term vision of a conference. A conference is only going to think as big as the membership. The WCHA has pulled up the NSIC schools (and props up Michigan Tech). They built and renovated arenas and invested in their programs to keep up with (or get into) the WCHA. They have been good followers in the WCHA, but they are never going to be the driving force for thinking big and long-term vision. On-ice performance this season aside, the WCHA is losing two of its leading programs, two programs that have forced the rest of the WCHA to invest in hockey. Programs that, along with UND and Denver, have set the bar in the WCHA. If you want UND to be in a conference that "thinks big" and has long-term vision, it needs to allign itself with member institutions that have the same institutional goals and vision that UND has. I just don't see that being the WCHA anymore.

I agree that UND is a big player on the national college hockey scene, anyone can see that. But people like Barry Alvarez want their schools to be playing Indiana and Illinois, not Bemidji and Omaha and Mankato, etc. (no matter what the sport)...UND is not invited to their party and that is fine. Maybe UMinn and UW will schedule us once in a while as long as our nickname isn't too offensive and our power play too efficient.

It will be interesting to see what the long term impacts of the Big10 are to college hockey.

Miami and Notre Dame are fine institutions but I don't know that it is realistic that they would join the WCHA...Maybe we can create our own super-cool conference to align ourselves as you stated above...of course that leaves the rest of the WCHA to fend for themselves...

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I can see maybe a conference flip flop of teams....Mich Tech bolts for the CCHA, Alaska to the WCHA, UAH to the CCHA, and the BTHC begging other Big Ten schools to start up hockey...Nebraska, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.

Geographically...your suggestion makes sense. Along this same line one could add Air Force to the WCHA.

Has UND ever hosted Air Force in hockey? If not...it would seem a potential way to get the GFAFB personnel more involved or at least cognizant of UND athletics.

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Air Force wants to play Army. They are trying to get Navy to move their hockey program up from club status.

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The northern and upper Michigan schools do not have the kind of demographics, academics standards, DI status or media that Notre Dame wants. Notre Dame tolerated those schools if it meant hob-knobbing with Mich and MSU, but it won't put up with them after they leave.

There are a lot of engineering alumni from various schools working in the trona mines out here in Western WYO and they all speak very highly of Michigan Tech. I understand it is a small school with outstanding engineering programs and that they also do a ton of research.

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