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beaverhockeyfan
07-01-2019, 05:27 PM
I love this statement by bale31 over on the SiouxSports.com message board. One team has joined D-I college hockey in these seven years, Arizona State. Yes, others have or are exploring, but only one team has made the move.

"....one of the positives that people have liked to point out over the last 7ish years is that the breakup of the old WCHA and CCHA and formation of BTHC and NCHC created all sorts of supposed opportunity to spawn new programs. Fast forward 7 years and no one wants to allow anyone new into their conferences. Big Ten has a superiority complex. The NCHC has a fear of others bringing them down. The WCHA has real financial issues. So, what opportunity is really is there for expansion? To go independent?

I guess this just leads me back to the point I tried to make in my original post.... college hockey lost it's innocence when all of these changes started. There is no "greater good of college hockey" any longer, if there ever was. Many of us idealized what college hockey was and it isn't that any more. It's all about how much money can go into each individual college's pockets. It's just unfortunate."

Shirtless Guy
07-01-2019, 05:30 PM
I enjoy seeing some Tech fans try to justify/rationalize the action of their university since people are calling it shady. No sanctimonious high ground anymore.I can both call leaving bull**** and still think the way they’re doing it isn’t shady. I am not happy to for MTU to be on this side of things but I can certainly understand it way more than the NCHC formation.

Squarebanks
07-01-2019, 05:30 PM
Shouldn't the ploy also include LSSU and FSU?

The sad irony is LSSU and FSU have both had years where they missed the playoffs, including very recently. No wonder they want to get rid of us...🙄

broncoinak
07-01-2019, 05:30 PM
I’ve avoided chipping in until now. The current WCHA is composed of mostly D2 schools with three at a distance. From an academic point students miss more class time (lots of air options to Alaska in the summer, not so much in the winter). From an athletic point 1-2 trips to Alaska each year. A game starting at 7 Alaska time is 11 or midnight for the visitors. I can understand why the other 7 want to avoid these.

So what’s next in my humble view...

Big 10 is expecting Illinois to pull the trigger soon...if Illinois pulls out they might take Arizona State or stay at 7.
Hockey East - Arizona State could end up here as strange as it sounds.
Atlantic - best landing spot for Alabama. If not here they would have to hope the 7 let them stay or go independent again.
NCHC - I don’t see any changes unless someone (WMU or Miami) wants out and Arizona wants in.
ECAC - no changes unless Ivy breaks away.

Alaska schools - I don’t see how both can survive. The best option might be to drop one and then try to convince the 7 to let the other stay since it would now be 1 trip a year. If that were to fail they would find it difficult to be successful as an independent as I can’t see how they could get more than a handful of home games.

That said, I would hope at least 2 of the 3 left out can find a way to continue.

The shady part IMO is how evidently they've been planning/talking about this for 3 years and didn't keep any of the three schools in the loop, which absolutely would have given them time to come up with a contingency plan and is also just the right thing to do.

I actually agree that, sadly, having only one program in Alaska would be not only more sustainable but would probably help a lot with competitiveness (better funding and less recruiting competition). As much as I want that program to be UAA I suspect that for valid reasons it would be UAF if either do survive.

Side note.. there are plenty of air options to Alaska in the winter.

broncoinak
07-01-2019, 05:34 PM
Another thing I find odd is that Huntsville is getting the shaft in this. While I hate it, I understand not wanting to have the Alaska schools in the conference although it seems one would be very workable.

Huntsville on the other hand just made a commitment to a new arena and really isn't that much of a travel burden. Somewhat far, sure, but not really that much compared to the footprint of the conference and not the time zone issue Alaska presents. Seems like a program making a long term commitment that should be a fine fit.

TalonsUpPuckDown
07-01-2019, 05:39 PM
Yup. I can’t wait to see what school is next that BG and Mankato deems unworthy.

C'mon now, there's zero evidence that BG is a ringleader in all this. Ignore that we waited until after the last minute to join the conference. And grumbled about being in the conference all along. And our AD, three years ago, complaining that teams in the conference weren't living up to their financial commitment. And Bergeron, in a conversation I had with him 2 years ago, saying it might be better for BG if we withdrew from the conference and tried the independent route. So except for all that, how could you possibly conclude we're behind any of this?

Personally, I think it's all Ferris' fault.

Jimjamesak
07-01-2019, 05:42 PM
C'mon now, there's zero evidence that BG is a ringleader in all this. Ignore that we waited until after the last minute to join the conference. And grumbled about being in the conference all along. And our AD, three years ago, complaining that teams in the conference weren't living up to their financial commitment. And Bergeron, in a conversation I had with him 2 years ago, saying it might be better for BG if we withdrew from the conference and tried the independent route. So except for all that, how could you possibly conclude we're behind any of this?

Personally, I think it's all Ferris' fault.
Just a hunch. :p

purpleinnebraska
07-01-2019, 05:55 PM
Another thing I find odd is that Huntsville is getting the shaft in this. While I hate it, I understand not wanting to have the Alaska schools in the conference although it seems one would be very workable.

Huntsville on the other hand just made a commitment to a new arena and really isn't that much of a travel burden. Somewhat far, sure, but not really that much compared to the footprint of the conference and not the time zone issue Alaska presents. Seems like a program making a long term commitment that should be a fine fit.

The whole situation stinks, but it takes some real chutzpah for NCHC and Big fans to say, "Boy, how can you do this to the Alaska schools and Huntsville?" Well, OK then, maybe you guys can do something. Until such time, it's pretty easy to sit on the sidelines and tell other schools the obligations they should undertake.
Huntsville's not "that much of a travel burden" and somewhat fits in with "the footprint of the conference"? Hunstville's closer to Omaha than it is to Mankato. It's closer to Oxford than it is to Bowling Green.
Ultimately, the question some seem to be asking is, "Whose duty is it to look after the best interests of all the D1 hockey schools?" And if there is any answer to that (and I'm not sure there is), that would seem to fall on the NCAA. But they let that ship sail a long time ago, in a lot of other sports besides hockey. But I don't expect any schools to let their own programs get dragged down financially while trying to save some other schools' programs.

RaceBoarder
07-01-2019, 06:09 PM
I'm gonna ask a different question here:

What does this move say about the financial situation of the GLIAC schools? (MTU, NMU, LSSU, FSU)

I am genuinely curious about this. I don't think any of those 4 are hemorrhaging cash, but at the same time, are they maybe seeing that the status quo isn't financially sustainable as we get closer to 2030?

Now that I've had time to think about things, I'd like to know how these schools should have played this if the above is true. Would you rather have the schools drop off 1 by 1 like we saw with the CHA schools?

I'm not trying to start a fight with the Alaska people here. But thinking has led me to believe that we have our own problems to deal with possibly. NCAA sports is quickly becoming $$$$$ vs $$ even at the D-2 level and drives everything.

ExileOnDaytonStreet
07-01-2019, 06:14 PM
I guess this just leads me back to the point I tried to make in my original post.... college hockey lost it's innocence when all of these changes started. There is no "greater good of college hockey" any longer, if there ever was.

Yeah, there never was.

Look back to all the “new” teams added to the WCHA and CCHA since the 70s. Outside of the Alaska schools, name one that was any sort of a geographic inconvenience. UNO in the CCHA maybe? That’s it. Every single other school fit into a predefined footprint, and until the conferences ballooned to 11-12 team behemoths, it didn’t impact how often they played rivals.

The Alaska schools were oddities, but they allowed for schools to schedule an extra home series if they had a flight to AK, and that was worth it for conferences that had large schools and large arenas to take advantage of that perk.

For Wisconsin? Minnesota? Michigan? A bonus series buoyed by a trip to Anchorage or Fairbanks meant money. They “helped” the Alaska schools because it helped _them_. Anything more than that is a total misread of how these conferences operate.

And those perks are chump change compared to what the BTHC and the NCHC could offer, so is it any wonder that the “innocence” is lost?

Well in the nWCHA, you don’t have big schools with huge arenas to take advantage of that perk. And not only are those trips more expensive than they used to be, now you have twice as many, because the schools aren’t separated. Is there any wonder that the “charity” of their conference mates ran out?

broncoinak
07-01-2019, 06:18 PM
The whole situation stinks, but it takes some real chutzpah for NCHC and Big fans to say, "Boy, how can you do this to the Alaska schools and Huntsville?" Well, OK then, maybe you guys can do something. Until such time, it's pretty easy to sit on the sidelines and tell other schools the obligations they should undertake.
Huntsville's not "that much of a travel burden" and somewhat fits in with "the footprint of the conference"? Hunstville's closer to Omaha than it is to Mankato. It's closer to Oxford than it is to Bowling Green.
Ultimately, the question some seem to be asking is, "Whose duty is it to look after the best interests of all the D1 hockey schools?" And if there is any answer to that (and I'm not sure there is), that would seem to fall on the NCAA. But they let that ship sail a long time ago, in a lot of other sports besides hockey. But I don't expect any schools to let their own programs get dragged down financially while trying to save some other schools' programs.

I didn't say that though. At all. I said I fully understand why the schools are doing this; I just don't really get why Huntsville is considered such an outlier. It's about the same distance (in some cases closer) to Michigan and Ohio schools as Bemidji and Mankato. Are schools bussing when they go between MN and MI? If so most of the trips to Huntsville could be bus trips too, if not its another flight among many. And as I said, while UAA and (to a lesser extent) UAF are downgrading to lesser capacity and amenity arenas, Huntsville seems to be upping their commitment.

I'm not sure what being a graduate of an NCHC school really has to do with it. I live in Anchorage and make as many UAA games as I can; they've gotten way more of my money than WMU hockey in the last five years. I also worked at UAA for a while. I don't particularly care for the NCHC, though I think it was the best option for WMU out of a bunch of non-ideal ones.

Like I said, I don't really blame the schools for doing this (a little for how they did it). It just seems that Huntsville is getting a raw deal for no really good reason.

ExileOnDaytonStreet
07-01-2019, 06:22 PM
I agree that UAH shouldn’t be excluded.

And, frankly, with the Alaska schools’ fate on shaky ground as it is, I even question the need to take any action beyond waiting for the Alaskan axe to fall. The only reason I can think of is desperation from the S7 schools that might be in worse shape than we thought.

gfmorris
07-01-2019, 06:38 PM
We did this to ourselves, but those seven schools and the fans cheering this decision can all go straight to hell.

GFM

Suze
07-01-2019, 06:52 PM
Yeah, there never was.

Look back to all the “new” teams added to the WCHA and CCHA since the 70s. Outside of the Alaska schools, name one that was any sort of a geographic inconvenience. UNO in the CCHA maybe? That’s it. Every single other school fit into a predefined footprint, and until the conferences ballooned to 11-12 team behemoths, it didn’t impact how often they played rivals.

The Alaska schools were oddities, but they allowed for schools to schedule an extra home series if they had a flight to AL, and that was worth it for conferences that had large schools and large arenas to take advantage of that perk.

For Wisconsin? Minnesota? Michigan? A bonus series buoyed by a trip to Anchorage or Fairbanks meant money. They “helped” the Alaska schools because it helped <them>. Anything more than that is a total misread of how these conferences operate.

And those perks are chump change compared to what the BTHC and the NCHC could offer, so is it any wonder that the “innocence” is lost?

Well in the nWCHA, you don’t have big schools with huge arenas to take advantage of that perk. And not only are those trips more expensive than they used to be, now you have twice as many, because the schools aren’t separated. Is there any wonder that the “charity” of their conference mates ran out?

So the fate of the Alaska schools is all the fault of UA_! ;)

Hockey John
07-01-2019, 06:53 PM
We did this to ourselves, but those seven schools and the fans cheering this decision can all go straight to hell.

GFM

I don't think anyone is celebrating this move. I personally hope that UAH is able to get the money for their new building and stays in the league. I just want my team to end up in the best position possible

ExileOnDaytonStreet
07-01-2019, 06:56 PM
So the fate of the Alaska schools is all the fault of UA_! ;)

Naturally

gfmorris
07-01-2019, 06:58 PM
Let me be super-plain here: UAH has a very narrow window of opportunity to not lose its program.

If you were looking to come to UAH in 2020 or 2021 and haven't signed an NLI, why would you? Realignment nearly killed this program once, and what was a team with league titles (in a bad league) and a couple of NCAA appearances (hooray for goalies who get blue-hot) became ... nothing. It took a couple of years to go from execrable to merely bad or almost-mediocre. All of this time, we were met with enough support to buoy the program but not enough to turn it into a powerboat.

Another taste of independent life will kill UAH (and UAA, and UAF). It's not viable this decade, not with the insular conference schedule setups (that totally makes sense ... I'm not going to fight that battle in this post).

UAH has until September 30 to land a spot in AHA or in this new F-UA* league, or it's over. It just is.

GFM

gfmorris
07-01-2019, 07:12 PM
I can’t roll my eyes enough about the usual “Big Ten ruined college hockey” nonsense.

Prior to the BTHC, the West was a bloated mess of two oversized conferences and no room in the inn for new blood.

And make no mistake: there needs to be new blood for college hockey to thrive. If nothing else has been consistent over the history of college hockey, it's programs failing for a variety of reasons. There are too many reasons that college hockey struggles that have nothing to do with the BTHC. The BTHC wasn’t a relevant concern when UIC or Kent St or any of those programs folded, and it had nothing to do with why BGSU’s balls were on the bandsaw before and after realignment.

Fortunately, we've had more programs arise than fold over the years, and the size of D1 has grown in recent decades because of that (by about a dozen programs on aggregate over the last 25 years). For every UIC, Kent State, Findlay, Wayne State, Northern Arizona etc., we've had a Mankato, a St Cloud, RIT, UNO, and then some.

We need new programs now just as we did when MnSt, SCSU, Bemidji, UNO, Lowell, et al came knocking on D1’s door.

To court those new programs, we need space. ASU is the exception, not the rule here. We needed space, and that required realignment. It takes a special brand of delusion to think that Penn State (or Illinois or whomever) was going to come aboard and try to squeeze in to the old alignment (if the old WCHA and CCHA would let them).

The old WCHA and CCHA were awesome. They were tradition. I miss them in many ways, but I can’t sit here and pretend like the BTHC wasn’t a solution to a problem: we are always at the risk of losing program but we had run out of space to put new ones.

(Maybe some of you think the old WCHA and CCHA could've functioned as 14-16 team superleagues, but I beg to differ)

The BTHC gave us a third western conference, with room to grow. Stop pretending like that hasn't been a good thing, especially since we've now had more chatter of growth potential in college hockey than we've seen in ages. It was the MAAC, except it's <actually sustainable> and has room to grow.

I don't want to see the Alaska schools fail any more than the rest of you, but I'm not going to whine about the BTHC causing it (indirectly, with pretty much every western college hockey program playing a role in the outcome since the BTHC was announced), when it seems like Alaskan economics are playing a larger role as it is.

Don't forget College Hockey America, which launched four new programs (Findlay and Wayne State, who folded, and Niagara and Robert Morris, now in Atlantic Hockey), let two programs make the transition from D-II to D-I (Bemidji and Huntsville), and let two programs come in from Independent Life (Army and Air Force).

That league was never bigger than six teams, though, and as a result, the instability of fledgling programs and small schools trying to play a rich-school's sport at great travel distances was too much.

The Shady Seven have made a critical mistake. This league is too small. Maybe they fill it out; maybe they don't. As many doubts and rumors have surrounded FSU and LSSU (who appears to be on more stable ground now) as have Huntsville. Beware.

GFM

bravohankins
07-01-2019, 07:17 PM
Just a hunch. :p

I'm sure BG is a large part of this.

BG has not made it a secret though that they were/are unhappy in the nWCHA. They have looked at other options every single off season since the disintegration of the CCHA.... same as Mankato has, both schools have made no secret of that.

To say that these schools were blindsided is BS......you don't think the AD's at these schools knew BG and MSU wanted to find different locations for their programs?
BG has been actively trying to rebuild the CCHA for years and if any of these AD's say they didn't know that then they are either lying or are really bad at their jobs. MSU actually applied to the NCHC.

BG's program almost died 11 years ago. It was saved by NHL alumni like Rob Blake, George McPhee, Ken Morrow, Mike Liut, Gary Galley, Brian MacLellan among others, plus grass roots fans and supporters. It was hard work and required new leadership being brought into the university administration that would support hockey. They hired a good coach and rebuilt the program, but its not totally endowed, yet, it still needs money from the Athletic Dept. An athletic dept that has a full D-1 program to support, all well being a "mid-major" and "Non-Power 5" school. So yea, they are looking out for themselves and are trying to keep their budget in the black same as all the other D-1 schools are.

They didn't just leave the conference and bolt, they followed the league by laws and said they are leaving in 2 years.....the fact that the only full D-1 school leaving the conference initiated others nearby to leave as well.....how is that BG's issue??

I feel bad for the Alaska programs, I really do, we know what it feels like to believe your program is dying.....but why is it a mid major state university in Ohio's responsibility to make sure hockey in Alaska stays active? Its not.
Nobody worried about us when we were on deaths bed or when the B1G started and the CCHA crumbled. BG learned the hard way that nobody is looking out for them, but them.

These 3 schools have 2 years to figure out what they are going to do. Get better funding, develop a new Western league, find 3 others schools to join them in the WCHA v3.0......if they can't or it doesn't economically work then D-1 college hockey just wasn't feasible in Alaska.

Which I know sucks for their fans, but it also sucked for the fans of St. Louis University and Illinois-Chicago and Wayne State and Kent State and Northern Arizona and US International etc..... all programs that tried and couldn't support D-1 hockey for one reason or another and some of those programs were thousands of miles away on their own and guess what, it didn't work then either.

This is also just a start of this.....there is no saying these 7 schools will end up all in the same conference by the end of re-ligament 2.0. There are going to be other schools from other leagues that may be in said new conference yet as well.....this is going to get even more messy before it gets completely settled.

As far as the secret issue.....what were they supposed to do? Call up the Alaska AD and say "hey we are leaving the conference in two years to start a new conference with schools around us, you are not part of it, please don't tell the WCHA commish until we are ready to OK". The guy would have called the league the minute the call hung up.......

LtPowers
07-01-2019, 07:20 PM
Maybe the real problem is that all college hockey conferences have to have between 8 and 12 teams (practically speaking, not formally). That's not a wide enough range to allow any flexibility with conference alignments.


Powers &8^]