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Sioux_fan
12-22-2012, 07:30 PM
There is no doubt that UND is one of the elite hockey programs in the country - unarguably in the top ten most elite programs, being the 2nd most attended college program after Wisconsin since the Ralph opened (first this year), and being the most winning WCHA program over the past ten years (according to the Grand Forks Herald).

However, I believe that UND has lost big time in conference realignment. The issue stems from the fact that UND was unable to get Notre Dame, Boston College, or Boston University in their conference. Although I believe UND is a better and more successful program than a team like Notre Dame, we all know that Notre Dame is a higher profile university from a college sports perspective. The random sports fan in Alabama is more likely to watch a Notre Dame-Michigan game than even a UND-Minnesota game. Thus, I think it was essential that UND get a big name program in a conference essentially created by the powers from DU and UND. Instead, UND got none of them. Even though the NCHC will probably be the most successful program out of the gates from on-ice success, it is essentially the third in profile after Hockey East and the Big Ten evidenced by the tv deals (NBC Sports Network reaches 75 million households for Hockey East, Big Ten Network 73 million households for Big Ten, and CBS Sports Network 44 million households). Source -> http://unitedstatesofhockey.com/2012/01/31/college-hockey-roundup-nchc-announces-tv-deal-nbcsn-ratings/

Now lets not kid ourselves...UND won't fall off a cliff overnight. However, I fear that UND could slowly become less relevant in hockey and its already somewhat coming into effect. UND has had four players de-commit since deciding to join the NCHC.

So if there is a pecking order among current players of program prestige (with prestige driving NHL scouting, tv coverage, fan support, and team success), my fear (as a UND fan) is that UND may fall in the eyes of current and future players. I mean, will there be a day when playing at even a program like Penn State is a bigger deal than North Dakota or Denver? Or, will the conference changes not affect greatly kids decisions where they play? And going back to the original question: Will UND lose in conference realignment? After all, success is perpetual. You win, you get the good players, you get the fans, the coverage, the big-name coaches, and this success drives young kids to envy the program and the circle continues. You slip in profile and you stop getting the players and it all unravels.

J.D.
12-22-2012, 07:45 PM
Yes, but we've all lost in this chaos.

burd
12-22-2012, 08:06 PM
Did anybody seriously think BU or BC would go NCHC?

Biddco
12-22-2012, 08:07 PM
Yes, but we've all lost in this chaos.Indeed.

UND will be fine because they have top notch facilities and history. UMD on the other hand worries me...will they be able to compete in a new conference? That will be determined over the next many decades.

brassbonanza
12-22-2012, 08:20 PM
Did anybody seriously think BU or BC would go NCHC?

No. They were reportedly invited and reportedly hung up the phone before the NCHC people finished their sentence.

SCSU Euro
12-22-2012, 09:44 PM
But UND will now be surrounded with like-mined institutions like UNO, WMU and SCSU. How could they not be the big winners

MUnRPI
12-22-2012, 10:12 PM
Good post. I fear that the B1G will eventually dominate college hockey..

WeAreNDHockey
12-22-2012, 11:09 PM
There is no doubt that UND is one of the elite hockey programs in the country - unarguably in the top ten most elite programs

I think you're being a bit modest. I'd put the Sioux in the top 2 or 3 of all time.



The random sports fan in Alabama is more likely to watch a Notre Dame-Michigan game than even a UND-Minnesota game.

Maybe. But maybe not. On an ND centric forum Notre Dame fans have twice recently had to have it explained to them why the school sells T-shirts that say "Straight Outta Compton." These Notre Dame fans don't even know what our brand new arena is called. Many Notre Dame fans are fans of football and football only. Even some alums follow only football closely. And the fact is, there are fewer and fewer casual or random sports fans all the time. People only tune in anymore to see their team. This is evident any time there are two hockey games in an arena. How often do fans of the other two teams show up -- or stay -- for the other game?

If this were football or basketball and a team like UND went off the beaten path to a conference like the NCHC maybe their influence would lessen over time. If someone like Ohio State or Texas in football left their homes in the B1Gor the Big XII, I could see it happening. But hockey is different. I know Notre Dame would have made a difference to the bottom line in the NCHC, but not to a great extent. College hockey is so insular.

Besides, I don't think this is all over anyway. My guess is within five to seven years things will not look like they will look next year.

jjmc85
12-23-2012, 01:08 AM
I think the NCHC will be worse than the current WCHA or even the CCHA for the reasons you've mentioned- there's no big name. Yeah, North Dakota's a great hockey school. We all know that. Same with Denver and Colorado College. And yeah, UMD just won a title. But if you're trying to get the casual fan who isn't a fan of college hockey (yet), do they even know any of these schools exist? If not, why are they gonna watch these games? The biggest name is probably Miami (OH). Don't get me wrong, I love the MAC now that UMass is a football member, but how many non-MAC fans here watch MAC football games? I could be wrong, but I think that's the interest level you can expect from non-NCHC school fans about the conference.

P.S.- I love Hockey East. Huge thanks to BC and BU for turning down the National.

The Rube
12-23-2012, 01:52 AM
The Nacho conference will not be "smaller" than the new WCHA. No way. However, it will be the 3rd conference behind the B1G Mistake and HE (in that order) for the casual fan, and maybe even the true blue college hockey fan, in terms of viewership (whether in person or on tv).

SoCalSiouxFan
12-23-2012, 02:33 AM
I think the NCHC will be worse than the current WCHA or even the CCHA for the reasons you've mentioned- there's no big name. Yeah, North Dakota's a great hockey school. We all know that. Same with Denver and Colorado College. And yeah, UMD just won a title. But if you're trying to get the casual fan who isn't a fan of college hockey (yet), do they even know any of these schools exist? If not, why are they gonna watch these games? The biggest name is probably Miami (OH). Don't get me wrong, I love the MAC now that UMass is a football member, but how many non-MAC fans here watch MAC football games? I could be wrong, but I think that's the interest level you can expect from non-NCHC school fans about the conference.

P.S.- I love Hockey East. Huge thanks to BC and BU for turning down the National.

Conference will dominate. Just look at the current WCHA standings and 5 of the top 7 teams from the WCHA are heading to the new conference. Top three teams are headed to the new conference. UM and WIS will be missed.

From a player's viewpoint the NCHC teams will have very difficult schedules and the expected competitiveness of the league is drawing in recruits. For NHL prospects it will be the highest level of play college has to offer.

Sioux_fan
12-23-2012, 03:20 AM
Conference will dominate. Just look at the current WCHA standings and 5 of the top 7 teams from the WCHA are heading to the new conference. Top three teams are headed to the new conference. UM and WIS will be missed.

From a player's viewpoint the NCHC teams will have very difficult schedules and the expected competitiveness of the league is drawing in recruits. For NHL prospects it will be the highest level of play college has to offer.

I agree with you that the NCHC will be the elite conference in terms of on-ice success RIGHT AWAY. However, the real question is whether the NCHC, being a lower profile conference than the Big Ten and Hockey East, can remain strong over the next 20 years. It won't get the tv coverage of the other two conferences and doesn't have a big-name university in it screaming tier-two conference even though success wise, it is the elite conference (identity problem). Heck, they couldn't even get the X in St. Paul for their tournament. Nobody can honestly say they would rather play at Target Center than Xcel Energy Center.

For some evidence, consider that we have seen quite a few Twin Cities residents not only going to the University of Minnesota (which is expected) but some also going to Notre Dame which I don't believe use to happen. Right now, if your a 15-20 year kid, you see it as 1) WCHA 2) Hockey East if in the Midwest and likely 1) Hockey East 2) WCHA if you are a kid on the East Coast. In ten years, my fear is that it will be if in the Midwest 1) Big-Ten 2) Hockey East 3) NCHC and if on the East Coast 1) Hockey East 2) Big Ten 3) NCHC. This is the problem for UND/DU/UMD fans because our programs may find the best players going to Minnesota/Michigan/Notre Dame/Wisconsin/BU/BC and the next best players choosing a team like Ohio State over UND. After all, what is the difference between a program like Mankato or Bemidji and Lake Superior State...nothing except that Mankato gets better players because they play in the WCHA. This change won't happen over night but could happen with twenty years.

And your point about college hockey and the NHL, tv drives recognition and although scouts won't discriminate based on tv coverage, it will be harder to see programs without tv coverage and again, tv coverage is attractive to potential recruits.

For the person who says the NCHC will be less than the WCHA, there is no way that will happen ever.

WeareNDHockey: It's interesting to hear your perspective and I'm well aware that hockey plays 2nd fiddle to basketball and football. However, the Notre Dame alumni base is larger and more powerful than almost any college alumni base. And if Notre Dame was truly a poor choice, the NBC Sports Network wouldn't have jumped in because we know if the NCHC got Notre Dame, the NBC Sports Network would be doing NCHC games. Notre Dame was the biggest commodity in conference realignment.

burd
12-23-2012, 07:07 AM
After 5 or 6 years of continued success in the NCHC, UND will be asked to join the Big Ten Hockey conference, after which it will be renamed the Really Big Ten Hockey Conference.

Timothy A
12-23-2012, 07:32 AM
College hockey (and hockey overall in the US) is such a nitch sport with passionate, loyal fans run by strong institutions that themselves will never disolve that the difference between "winning" and "losing" is like getting a .25 raise or not. To the causal sports fan, the letters WCHA and NCHC are meaningless letters, so to me the re-alignment for all the non big 6 teams is a push. I do think the big 6 league is positioned to help cultivate college interest overall, but only if they don't treat it like the ugly step-sister of bounceyball. The Whioux are strongly positioned in the inner circle of the college hockey world despite of their no name past conference and no name future conference, and will remain there.

WeAreNDHockey
12-23-2012, 09:33 AM
WeareNDHockey: It's interesting to hear your perspective and I'm well aware that hockey plays 2nd fiddle to basketball and football. However, the Notre Dame alumni base is larger and more powerful than almost any college alumni base. And if Notre Dame was truly a poor choice, the NBC Sports Network wouldn't have jumped in because we know if the NCHC got Notre Dame, the NBC Sports Network would be doing NCHC games. Notre Dame was the biggest commodity in conference realignment.

Actually, our alumni base is quite small compared to the large state universities like Minnesota or Ohio State. Theirs dwarf ours actually. Most other college hockey schools, other than the really small schools like Colo College, are at least comparable in size. Notre Dame has perhaps 120,000 living alumni. I'm guessing OSU has at least 4 times that many. The so-called "Subway Alums" do inflate the number of people who have an interest in Notre Dame, but again, virtually all of those people are in for football and football only. Put it this way, if someone calls it "Notra" Dame, instead of "Noter" Dame, they ain't watching hockey.

Interestingly, one of the reasons Notre Dame hockey is getting the TV deal next year with NBC Sports Network is because NBC Sports was insisting on migrating one of the home football games from NBC to NBC Sports Network (actually it was still called Versus when this issue came up). After this season the reasons for moving a football game are different, but without that bargaining chip, I doubt Notre Dame would be looking at having most of their games televised.

huskyfan
12-23-2012, 09:52 AM
this is why so many of us thought this was idiocy to begin with. the Big Ten split was coming no doubt. but cooler heads should have prevailed and let a few more years go by and think this through. several schools in the nWCHA and the NaCHo have high hockey profiles. none have high national awareness. did anyone one of the ADs and Coaches really think you can have a league of all champions?? and why abandon the league that your school help found and has historical ties to? weed out some of the newer and weaker teams if need be. hubris and greed rarely make good decisions.

purpleinnebraska
12-23-2012, 09:57 AM
Fascinating topic and discussion. I'd be less worried about UND, and more concerned about whichever programs start consistently finishing 7th or 8th in the new NCHC.

Biddco
12-23-2012, 10:06 AM
this is why so many of us thought this was idiocy to begin with. the Big Ten split was coming no doubt. but cooler heads should have prevailed and let a few more years go by and think this through. several schools in the nWCHA and the NaCHo have high hockey profiles. none have high national awareness. did anyone one of the ADs and Coaches really think you can have a league of all champions?? and why abandon the league that your school help found and has historical ties to? weed out some of the newer and weaker teams if need be. hubris and greed rarely make good decisions.I get the feeling that the NCHC was partly formed because of behind the scenes politics between future NCHC schools and WCHA administration. How much of a role this played in the eventual breakup is up for debate.



Fascinating topic and discussion. I'd be less worried about UND, and more concerned about whichever programs start consistently finishing 7th or 8th in the new NCHC.I'll admit, this is what worried me. It is especially worrisome for UMD because our recruiting right now is nothing to write home about.

Slap Shot
12-23-2012, 10:30 AM
No surprise that SCSF is the voice of un-reason [sic] in a thread.

Osorojo
12-23-2012, 10:57 AM
Football was once a niche sport reserved for effete students and alumni. Notre Dame (by herself) made the first college T.V. football contract back in the 1950's, and things have changed. T.V. coverage of college hockey has increased substantially in the past few years, and T.V. coverage has a undeniable impact upon the financial success and the recruiting of a college hockey program. Sioux_fan has legitimate concerns about conference alignments, T.V. coverage, and a culture of small thinking, niche-sport program supporters.