PDA

View Full Version : Mercyhurst to the CCHA?



Pages : [1] 2 3 4

MICZamboni
11-13-2009, 12:34 PM
From the Erie Times News today:

CCHA membership a foggy possibility for Mercyhurst
Men's hockey program explores league switch
By RON LEONARDI
ron.leonardi@timesnews.com
Is the Central Collegiate Hockey Association part of Mercyhurst College's future?



School administrators are exploring the possibility of applying to the 12-team CCHA, one of the top NCAA Division I men's hockey conferences.

The CCHA will be reduced to 11 teams after this season when Nebraska-Omaha leaves to join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for the 2010-11 season.

The CCHA has no plans for immediate expansion.

"We have no plans to add a new member for 2010-11,'' CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos said in an e-mail interview. "We are currently trying to finalize a new schedule with 11 teams for 2010-11. At this time, we have not addressed our future plans specifically related to our membership make-up.''

Mercyhurst athletic director Joe Kimball said the school has had preliminary discussions with CCHA officials, but has not applied to the conference.

He said Mercyhurst remains committed to its Atlantic Hockey Association membership.

"Right now, this is just a thought,'' Kimball said. "We're just thinking out loud and asking some questions and kind of sniffing around a little bit to see what the CCHA is all about.''

The CCHA consists of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Miami (Ohio), Alaska Fairbanks, Nebraska-Omaha, Lake Superior, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Northern Michigan and Western Michigan.

"We don't know if the CCHA wants to expand to 12 teams or if they want to stay at 11,'' Kimball said.

"My job right now is to find out as much as I can about the league, and that's why I am waiting to have additional talks with Tom Anastos, so we can get a better idea of whether this would be a good move for us not only as a hockey program, but as a college.''

Kimball said he and Anastos have had two discussions in the past two weeks.

Anastos said the CCHA entry fee for a new member is $250,000, which includes a $10,000 application fee. If a school is not accepted, the $10,000 application fee is non-refundable.

"Administrators from Mercyhurst have contacted me to find out about our league, our future plans and the process for membership application,'' Anastos said. "They are doing some fact-finding.''

Mercyhurst has been a member of the 10-team Atlantic Hockey Association since 2003.

The AHA will expand to 12 teams for the 2010-11 season with the addition of Niagara and Robert Morris.

"Geographically, Mercyhurst College and Erie fit in wonderfully into the CCHA footprint,'' Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin said. "But no one has told us they want to add a 12th team. We're just assuming they would like to, because 11 seems like an odd number.''

Besides playing some of the nation's best teams, a move to the CCHA likely would allow the Mercyhurst men's program to fund the maximum 18 NCAA Division I scholarships per season.

The AHA schools enforce a 12-scholarship limit.

"You'd have to look at that,'' Kimball said. "Is that feasible for us, because that's what that league entails.''

There would be other advantages to a CCHA move.

"The two positives about this conference is the travel being less than it is in the AHA, and the quality of teams,'' Kimball said.

The CCHA denied Alabama-Huntsville's membership application this past summer largely because of its proximity to the rest of the league.

"Say what you want, but I believe, geographically, we're the closest team to CCHA country,'' Gotkin said.

"The CCHA wants to stay where they can take buses to 95 percent of their games,'' Kimball said. "They want it to be and they pride themselves on being a bus league. It would be cheaper for us travel-wise. Other than an every-other-year trip to Alaska, the longest trip is probably Northern Michigan. After that, the longest trip would probably be Notre Dame or Lake Superior.''

If Mercyhurst chose to apply to the CCHA, the application process could take as long as a year, meaning any new member likely wouldn't join the league until the 2011-12 season at the earliest.

"We have a lot of questions,'' Gotkin said. "The key here is we don't want to waste anyone's time, and we certainly don't want to waste anybody's money, so before we even take that next step, which would be to apply, there are some big questions that have to be answered by CCHA officials.''

Gotkin cautioned that those talks are in a preliminary stage.

"There really isn't a lot to say other than we don't want to mislead and we don't want to lie,'' Gotkin said. "There is some dialogue here on campus, and it is exciting from the hockey coach's standpoint of the potential and possibility. Does that mean it's ever going to come to a reality? Who knows. I can't speak for our college administration, but me, personally, I would love to see that happen.''

Does Gotkin think the application will materialize?

"I think it depends on how the dialogue goes between Joe Kimball and Tom Anastos,'' he said. "If it's a positive and encouraging dialogue, and there is some information that's shared and some questions answered, maybe it will go forward to our president and the provost, and maybe they'll say, 'Hey, this sounds exciting. Maybe we should apply.' ''


Gotkin said no one should be surprised by the school's decision to explore CCHA membership.

"Mercyhurst is always looking to improve all its resources, in this case, athletics and hockey,'' Gotkin said. "I don't think any decisions are made easily or lightly or without a lot of insight, and this is another example of this."

owslachief
11-13-2009, 01:03 PM
I'm impressed with the direction Mercyhurst's program has taken. They're a legit Atlantic Hockey contender this year. That and relatively short distance to 9 of 12 CCHA schools might make them appealing.

Would AHA take UAH if they're left with 11 teams?

Hammer
11-13-2009, 01:06 PM
Possibly, but what kind of scholarship situation is UAH looking at? Are they willing to go to 12 scholarships to go to AHA?

alfablue
11-13-2009, 01:21 PM
Possibly, but what kind of scholarship situation is UAH looking at? Are they willing to go to 12 scholarships to go to AHA?

Niagra and Robert Morris did.

21st Century Schizoid Man
11-13-2009, 01:31 PM
Niagra and Robert Morris did.

I can't really speak for Niagara but, Robert Morris was already playing close to that 12 scholarship limit for some time now I believe.

I think Niagara may be closer to 17,18, but I'm not entirely sure.


Bottom line, UAH fans have been saying that AH had told them they didn't meet the geographical footprint, like Air Force is just right down the road from the AH schools. :rolleyes:

aallenpollreisz
11-13-2009, 01:33 PM
I'd rather have UAH.

MICZamboni
11-13-2009, 01:34 PM
I'd rather have UAH.

With Mercyhurst only having 12 scholarships I would understand but with the full amount they will be fine if they were to move.

slurpees
11-13-2009, 01:38 PM
Possibly, but what kind of scholarship situation is UAH looking at? Are they willing to go to 12 scholarships to go to AHA?

12 scholarships >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> D1 Independent/D3

redhawkman10
11-13-2009, 01:41 PM
With Mercyhurst only having 12 scholarships I would understand but with the full amount they will be fine if they were to move.

This was brought up at the Miami thread some time ago.

I personally like this idea and think it fits better for the league to have Mercyhurst on board rather than UAH. Mercyhurst is more ready now to compete than UAH and I think the benefit in the long run would be the same for both teams.

The two questions we had over there and I think are viable is/are Mercyhurst would have to increase their scholarship amount to compete in the CCHA, are the ready/able to do so?

Also they would need a better facility. Would they be willing to build a new ice arena and/or is it possible to share a facility with the Erie Otters?

The close proximity to majority of the CCHA schools is what makes it appealing, plus they are an improving program in an area in which they can recruit well.

owslachief
11-13-2009, 01:46 PM
I'd rather have UAH.

Because you don't want the competing green team colors?

aallenpollreisz
11-13-2009, 01:48 PM
With Mercyhurst only having 12 scholarships I would understand but with the full amount they will be fine if they were to move.UAH has an established fan-base, a decent building, and some decent history. They're, obviously, the better program.

Meanwhile, though Mercyhurst is nearby, they don't have much for infastructure.

Mercyhurst's a project, while UAH is already comparable with other teams in our conference. Sure, it doesn't make any geographical sense to take Huntsville, but the same thing could have been said when UAF and UNO entered once upon a time.

UAH would improve the profile of the conference a heck of a lot more than Mercyhurst would.

redhawkman10
11-13-2009, 01:54 PM
UAH has an established fan-base, a decent building, and some decent history. They're, obviously, the better program.

Meanwhile, though Mercyhurst is nearby, they don't have much for infastructure.

Mercyhurst's a project, while UAH is already comparable with other teams in our conference. Sure, it doesn't make any geographical sense to take Huntsville, but the same thing could have been said when UAF and UNO entered once upon a time.

UAH would improve the profile of the conference a heck of a lot more than Mercyhurst would.

Initially maybe, but Mercyhurst is a pretty good hockey club this year and has a lot more room for growth than UAH does. Erie is a rich hockey fan base and would support a major D I team, IMO.

I am with you on the building etc. I think they would have to build a new facility or share with the Erie Otters to get in the league.

state of hockey
11-13-2009, 01:56 PM
Mercyhurst should get to do whatever it wants due to the teams resemblance to the Whalers.

jjmc85
11-13-2009, 01:59 PM
From the original post:
Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin said. "But no one has told us they want to add a 12th team. We're just assuming they would like to, because 11 seems like an odd number.''

11 definitely seems like an odd number...:p :D

MICZamboni
11-13-2009, 02:27 PM
Initially maybe, but Mercyhurst is a pretty good hockey club this year and has a lot more room for growth than UAH does. Erie is a rich hockey fan base and would support a major D I team, IMO.

I am with you on the building etc. I think they would have to build a new facility or share with the Erie Otters to get in the league.

DITTO. Couldn't have said it any better.

I also think Erie could support another hockey team and think they would have to share the Erie Civic Center with the Otters. The ECC will be going through a multi-million dollar renovation starting this year and should look real nice. Either that or Mercyhurst should bulldoze the current areana they play in and start over.

redhawkman10
11-13-2009, 06:03 PM
DITTO. Couldn't have said it any better.

I also think Erie could support another hockey team and think they would have to share the Erie Civic Center with the Otters. The ECC will be going through a multi-million dollar renovation starting this year and should look real nice. Either that or Mercyhurst should bulldoze the current areana they play in and start over.

For me the Erie Civic Center would be a fine venue, if they renovate like you said then even better. But I looked at pics and it's better than some venues in the CCHA now so if they can work that out that is one step in the right direction. Also I agree I think Erie would embrace the CCHA and big time D I hockey. They seem to draw well for the OHL games so I don't think it would be much of a problem for people to come out and watch first round draft picks in the college game either.

I think the big thing is the initial investment the university would have to make in additional scholarships and what not to move the program to another level. If they give that commitment then I think it is a very good situation to bring Mercyhurst to the CCHA and UAH then join Atlantic Hockey.

I think it is safe to say the CCHA would like a 12 team league, they just need the right 12th team to fill the void and make it work. Any ole team to just fill a spot won't work, they have tried that and failed with Kent St. and Illinois Chicago.

CornwallAce
11-13-2009, 06:22 PM
Totally dreaming here, and I know there are a lot of obstacles, but if Mercyhurst goes to the CCHA, I'd love to see Utica step up to D1 like RIT did and join the AHA.
I'll let the people who live and breathe regulations tell me why it's a silly idea now...

Patman
11-13-2009, 06:31 PM
Totally dreaming here, and I know there are a lot of obstacles, but if Mercyhurst goes to the CCHA, I'd love to see Utica step up to D1 like RIT did and join the AHA.
I'll let the people who live and breathe regulations tell me why it's a silly idea now...

why do I need those to say its a silly idea?

BC/HE
11-14-2009, 08:52 AM
Niagara actually fits the CCHA footprint just as well since driving across Canada brings them closer to all the Michigan schools East Lansing and above. In addition flights from Buffalo are a lot easier and cheaper than from Erie. I would not be surprised if Mercyhurst would even use Buffalo to get to Alaska for those reasons as well. As far as the comments about Air Force being out of the AHA footprint remember that the reason for that is to be in with Army and possibly Navy in the future so don't be surprised if AHA goes to 11 and Navy becomes the 12th team. Quite possibly AFA also has their own planes that they can justify for training purposes.

aparch
11-14-2009, 09:49 AM
Mercyhurst is a much better fit than Huntsville.

Get it done Anastos!