As many of you have undoubtedly heard in recent news reports, the landscape of college hockey is undergoing some major changes in the near future. Although there are many questions regarding these changes that are yet unanswered, be assured that we are very engaged in the process. We remain solidy committed to provide the opportunity for Seawolf Hockey to continue to compete in the WCHA and in the NCAA at the highest level.
First of all, you should know that the WCHA will continue with its current membership of 12 teams (Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State, Colorado College, Denver, Michigan Tech, Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Wisconsin) for the next two seasons, 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Commencing with the 2013-14 season, changes will occur. I will be attending a meeting of WCHA athletic directors this week in St. Paul, Minn., to evaluate our options and make plans for that eventuality.
As background, here's what's happened over the past number of months to precipitate where things stand today:
- In September of 2010 Penn State announced it would be adding hockey as a varsity sport beginning with the 2012-13 season.
- On March 21 of this year, the Big 10 Conference announced it would commence sponsoring the sport of hockey with the 2013-14 season. That resulted in a new six-team Big 10 hockey conference that will consist of current WCHA members Minnesota and Wisconsin, current CCHA members Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State, and the newly-formed Penn State team.
- This past week (July 10), the following teams announced they would be forming a new hockey conference commencing with the 2013-14 season - WCHA members Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha - along with Miami (Ohio) of the CCHA.
- As of today, that would leave five remaining WCHA members for the 2013-14 season - Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State. As the NCAA requires a minimum of six teams to constitute a conference, our first order of business, obviously, is to seek additional teams for the WCHA beginning in that year. We are confident that can and will happen in the near future.
These new conference configurations will present challenges and opportunities. If possible, we are hopeful that any new configuration would give us the opportunity to return to a four-game, home-and-home series with Alaska Fairbanks as part of our annual Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup.
As this situation continues to evolve, we will keep you posted.
And, as always, thanks for your continued support of the Seawolves.
Steve Cobb, Director of Athletics