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Squarebanks
03-23-2011, 03:44 PM
Agreed that we can (and do) work together, but I think the issue is getting the rest of the WCHA on board. But if such a move were to happen, UAA would have to lead the charge within the WCHA.

And if UAA paved the way for us into the WCHA, I would gladly buy every Seawolf on this board a beer the next time I'm in Anchorage. So that should be enough incentive right there. :)


I think recent history has shown the two schools are able to work together, at least on items of mutual interest. I wouldn't be surprised if something is being discussed already. I've gotten the feeling that UAF has been ready to bail on the CCHA for a while, having to pay 25 airline tickets per is a drain. I could see them trying to work something out.

I don't see UAA leaving the WCHA at this point, there's no viable option right now.

bigmrg74
03-23-2011, 03:46 PM
I have three goals in mind: 1) preserve all 6 conferences (CCHA and AHA at most risk, WCHA, ECAC, HE and Big Ten Network conference ;) should be fine). 2) Allow for expansion, and 3) get some geographic balance wherever possible.

So, first the easy way.

Leave WCHA, HE, ECAC as is. WCHA has still has several anchor teams and will have a couple of spaces for expansion down the road although I have no schools in mind for that right now. CCHA keeps two anchor schools (ND and Miami) who should rather be big fish in small pond instead of competing against North Dakota, Denver, etc for league titles every year. Move Mercyhurst and Robert Morris over to conference which still allows expansion (Pitt?) and lines up well geographically. AHA takes independent Alabama-Huntsville and tries to convince Navy to join up. AHA keeps Air Force, Niagara, etc. This way both CCHA and AHA are strengthened.

OR: Service academies go CCHA and have an opening for possible Navy program.

More complicated:

Alaska and Air Force go to WHCA which works better geographically (but prevents any new programs from joining). CCHA still takes RMU and Mercyhurst as well as Niagara and tried to convice one other "name" program to join. 7 team AHA takes Alabama-Huntsville and has room for the next 4 programs that make the leap (again Navy, McDonalds U, etc). While this doesn't leave the AHA in great shape, it does open up some slots for a quicker expansion as the AHA is a natural landing spot for a new program.

Why are you trying to shoehorn Huntsville into Atlantic hockey while all the while having AHA drop a few of its westernmost and closest schools to Alabama? The Eastern schools of the AHA are not going to like losing those long roadies to Erie and Buffalo, and have it replaced with a trip to Alabama.

MOJO
03-23-2011, 03:49 PM
New WCHA for what it is worth: Miami and Notre Dame go to Hockey East

Great Lakes Division:
NMU
LSSU
MTU
Ferris State
Western Michigan
Bowling Green State

Iron Range Division or Great Plains
Minn. Duluth
St. Cloud
Bemidji St.
Minn. State
UND

Far West or Mountain Division:
UNO
CC
Denver
Alaska
Alaska Fairbanks


WCHA with Miami and Notre Dame:

Central Division
LSSU
Ferris State
Western Michigan
Bowling Green State
Miami
Notre Dame

Iron Range Division
Minn. Duluth
St. Cloud
Bemidji St.
Minn. State
NMU
MTU

Far West or Mountain Division:
UND
CC
Denver
Alaska
Alaska Fairbanks
UNO

Jeo
03-23-2011, 04:00 PM
New WCHA for what it is worth: Miami and Notre Dame go to Hockey East

Great Lakes Division:
NMU
LSSU
MTU
Ferris State
Western Michigan
Bowling Green State

Iron Range Division or Great Plains
Minn. Duluth
St. Cloud
Bemidji St.
Minn. State
UND

Far West or Mountain Division:
UNO
CC
Denver
Alaska
Alaska Fairbanks

...

You forgot the Sioux in the top one. Unless you are assuming they will be an independent that automatically gets into the tournament every year :D

bigmrg74
03-23-2011, 04:19 PM
WCHA with Miami and Notre Dame:

Central Division
LSSU
Ferris State
Western Michigan
Bowling Green State
Miami
Notre Dame

Iron Range Division
Minn. Duluth
St. Cloud
Bemidji St.
Minn. State
NMU
MTU

Far West or Mountain Division:
UND
CC
Denver
Alaska
Alaska Fairbanks
UNO

So, ummmm.... how would the scheduling work for that? play everybody in your division home and home? thats 20 games right there. Then there's the mess of figuring out how many games you can play against the other division members. You might be better off breaking them down into pods of 4, with a pod of 2 for the Alaska schools as most schools would want to get up there often in conference play.

So, Alaska _airbanks and Alaska-Anchorage in pod one or the Alaska Pod

Pod 2 or the West Pod
Denver
CC
UND
UNO

Pod 3 or the Minnesota Pod
Minn. Duluth
St. Cloud
Bemidji St.
Minn. State

Pod 4 or the Michigan Pod or maybe GLIAC Pod
MTU
NMU
LSSU
Ferris

Pod 5 or the Southern Pod
WMU
Norte Dame
BGSU
Miami

Home and homes with your pod members, which is a grand total of 6 games, and then one could more easily figure out a way to balence out the schedule so that everybody would see everybody over several years.

Rover
03-23-2011, 04:26 PM
Why are you trying to shoehorn Huntsville into Atlantic hockey while all the while having AHA drop a few of its westernmost and closest schools to Alabama? The Eastern schools of the AHA are not going to like losing those long roadies to Erie and Buffalo, and have it replaced with a trip to Alabama.

If I were playing hockey during the winter, I'd much rather go to Alabama than the Erie/Buffalo area.

However, I'm trying to find a home for a school that isn't a good fit anywhere geographically but is supporting the sport of hockey so they deserve some considerations. IF Navy jumped into D-1, they might be the closest school to them.

Regarding the moves to CCHA, those schools I believe could compete in their new conference, and they seem to be committed to their programs which is going to be real important in a decimated CCHA (for example you wouldn't move UConn or Holy Cross to a conference in need of strong members to help sustain it). Also there's a natural fit for non-conference games with RMU-Penn St-Mercyhurst. All in all I'm trying to balance the benefits of one conference without destroying the other which is a tricky balance. The CCHA and the AHA would benefit IMHO from getting both Pitt and Navy to pick up the sport which I've tried to leave open spots in each conference for them to slide into.

Jim
03-24-2011, 09:56 AM
The thing is, the way the AHA is set up now, it makes some sense. Sure you can complain about the playoffs, but as far as the two pods go, they are pretty tightly connected geographically. Obvioulsy Air Force is the outlier, but with that exception, everybody is within 4-5 hours of everyone else in their "pod." Why is that important? Well for one thing it costs less to get to you opponent. But it also means you can play home and home games on a given weekend, or can arrange a schedule so you can play two opponents on a particular trip. You can arrange a travel partner system if you want. You can develop rivalries with neighbors. Canisius and Niagara, UCONN-Sacred Heart and AIC (UCONN played its first varsity game against AIC, AIC has played at the opening of its new arena and has played them more than any other team) It gives you all sorts of flexibility. I think the AHA has a fairly solid setup right now. I guess I'd prefer a true East-West arrangement. I think that would work pretty well for the playoffs, too, though I'd play 1E-2W and 1W-2E. in the semis. But bottom line is that I think the AHA as currently structured works pretty well. I'm not sure why we'd want to add Huntsville at this point. Adn I'm guessing Niagara, Robert Morris, and Mercyhurst are less likely to want to leave than some of their fans might suggest. The first two have been through the realighnment stuff before with the CHA and I suspect they might very well be happy to stay put in a pretty stable situation ofr a while. The Mercyhurst coach seems to want to move, but I'm not usre his view reflects the views of the administration. Besides that, the rest of the league seems to have caught up with the lakers in recent years. They hardly dominate anymore.

FlagDUDE08
03-24-2011, 10:55 AM
Seriously people, the only team that is joining is Penn State, and we all know where they're going. Talking about schools joining when they haven't expressed serious interest is just plain stupid.

Rover
03-24-2011, 11:28 AM
Seriously people, the only team that is joining is Penn State, and we all know where they're going. Talking about schools joining when they haven't expressed serious interest is just plain stupid.

I don't agree. A huge problem for college hockey expansion, be it a large school or a small one, was no room in the conferences to join. WCHA, AHA and ECAC were maxed out and HE will not expand at all unless somewhere down the road URI jumps up and the grab UConn to complete the 6 state schools in New England playing the sport. If you have no conference to go to and therefore don't know who you'd be playing to guage fan interest, etc why would a school put in the time, effort and $$$ to make the leap?

Now that there is room for expansion, it makes sense to focus on the schools who've either made noise or have the facilities (again I'll mention URI and Navy but I'm sure there are other smaller schools out there). The sport should grow, because there's no guarantee that the schools playing now will always maintain their programs (BGSU, Bentley, AIC, etc etc). For years all I read out here was the certainly that the Big Ten Hockey Conference would never happen in our lifetimes, that Penn St would never play D1 hockey and how Joe Paterno wouldn't allow hockey at PSU. All of those turned out to be false, and I don't think some planning ahead is necessarily a bad thing.

FlagDUDE08
03-24-2011, 11:55 AM
I don't agree. A huge problem for college hockey expansion, be it a large school or a small one, was no room in the conferences to join. WCHA, AHA and ECAC were maxed out and HE will not expand at all unless somewhere down the road URI jumps up and the grab UConn to complete the 6 state schools in New England playing the sport. If you have no conference to go to and therefore don't know who you'd be playing to guage fan interest, etc why would a school put in the time, effort and $$$ to make the leap?

Now that there is room for expansion, it makes sense to focus on the schools who've either made noise or have the facilities (again I'll mention URI and Navy but I'm sure there are other smaller schools out there). The sport should grow, because there's no guarantee that the schools playing now will always maintain their programs (BGSU, Bentley, AIC, etc etc). For years all I read out here was the certainly that the Big Ten Hockey Conference would never happen in our lifetimes, that Penn St would never play D1 hockey and how Joe Paterno wouldn't allow hockey at PSU. All of those turned out to be false, and I don't think some planning ahead is necessarily a bad thing.

If we're talking about re-organizing conferences to allow for potential future expansion, that's cool. However, some posters are specifically calling out schools or even adjusting conferences to allow for specific schools to get in, especially when they haven't come out and said, "We are starting varsity hockey." The only school that has done that is Penn State. Therefore, any sort of molding to guess at which schools would come in doesn't make sense at all.

Rhett
03-24-2011, 12:03 PM
I don't agree. A huge problem for college hockey expansion, be it a large school or a small one, was no room in the conferences to join.

I sincerely doubt that actually stopped anyone. Wayne State and Kennesaw State claimed it, but I think the main reason is "hockey is expensive".

Rover
03-24-2011, 12:17 PM
I sincerely doubt that actually stopped anyone. Wayne State and Kennesaw State claimed it, but I think the main reason is "hockey is expensive".

Without any inside knowledge, I think it makes sense. If you have a conference it has to help in getting the program off the ground. If you're an independent who do you schedule to play all year? Hockey is expensive, and eliminating uncertainly would presumably be beneficial. Say in the near future I'm the AD of Random University and I want to go D-1 but it will cost some up front money. So I go to the money grubbing unversity President and say "I can get us into a conference that will guarantee us playing hockey schools like Minny, Notre Dame, etc etc - think of the exposure" or I could say "well, I don't know who we'll be playing but I know fellow independent Alabama-Huntsville has plenty of open dates on their schedule. Oh and by the way there's no hope of us playing in a post season tournament either". I'm in no way saying this is the only factor, nor the deciding one, but its a stretch for me to believe it has no significant impact.

bigmrg74
03-24-2011, 12:19 PM
I sincerely doubt that actually stopped anyone. Wayne State and Kennesaw State claimed it, but I think the main reason is "hockey is expensive".

The problem with the CHA was that it was too spread out. It had teams from northern Minnesota to Colorado to Detroit to Buffalo to the Hudson Valley to Alabama with very few teams in between. Lack of any close road games is what caused the CHA to fold.

HungryHungryHuskies
03-24-2011, 12:20 PM
Maybe I've taken a dose of the Crazy or missed the boat on this, but what would be the problem with the conferences continuing on with their current members after the BTHC schools split? It's business as usual in HEA, AHA and ECAC. Big 10 could have an interlocking schedule with CCHA if need be. Nobody HAS to take Huntsville just because they're available.

I guess I could see the possibility of the two western most AHA schools moving to the CCHA and having the two conferences at an even 10 (even after RM just moved to the AHA), but other than that I sincerely doubt we'll see any changes in the coming years.

bronconick
03-24-2011, 02:12 PM
The impediments to 20 new college hockey teams are start up costs and Title IX. Short of some more $90 million payouts to schools that simultaneously cover both the building of an arena and the start up of a matching women's hockey team, there's not going to be a sudden surge of schools saying "Wow, there's room in the WCHA, CCHA and (if we're a large midwestern state university), Big Ten! Let's start a hockey team!" And despite Paul Kelly's dreams, the PAC-12 isn't going to get together next summer and decided to pull half a dozen of their teams to D1, since doing it piecemeal piles on travel costs to the startup costs/Title IX.

Finding a conference was probably about 8th on the list of worries when considering hockey. There's still all the other issues.

Jimjamesak
03-24-2011, 02:24 PM
Seriously people, the only team that is joining is Penn State, and we all know where they're going. Talking about schools joining when they haven't expressed serious interest is just plain stupid.
You must be new, welcome to USCHO! ;)

Jim
03-24-2011, 02:31 PM
I've said for a long time that the only way it makes any sense for new teams to come up, unless they are major schools like Penn State, is to do it as a group. The original AHA/MAAC group upgraded with something like 8 schools all at the same time and were able to do so as their own league. It allowed them to have a ready made schedule, guarenteed home games, and frankly reasonalby comparable competition. Several of hte original teams, Fairfield, Iona, Quinipiac are no longer par tof the league. Q went on to the ECAc while the others dropped hockey, but they've been replaced over time and the league was large enough to withstand some comings and goings. To me that is what makes sense for an expansion. Unless you're a Penn State, maybe a Syracuse or Rhode Island, major universities with fairly massive athletic departments- The Big Ten operating budgets range from $40-90 million annually compared to about $15 million in the MAC, and my guess is it is MUCH lower at D-2 and D-3 schools-who doesn't have to worry about travel costs and home attendance, comin gin with a ready made league makes some sense. In effect it is what Penn State did, too for that matter. If I were looking to expand, I'd be approaching a couple of the D-3 leagues and particularly the D-2 teams about upgrading as a group and following the AHA cost containment model. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if there are any D-2 leagues beyond the Northeast 10.

Rover
03-24-2011, 03:28 PM
Making I've taken a dose of the Crazy or missed the boat on this, but what would be the problem with the conferences continuing on with their current members after the BTHC schools split? It's business as usual in HEA, AHA and ECAC. Big 10 could have an interlocking schedule with CCHA if need be. Nobody HAS to take Huntsville just because they're available.

I guess I could see the possibility of the two western most AHA schools moving to the CCHA and having the two conferences at an even 10 (even after RM just moved to the AHA), but other than that I sincerely doubt we'll see any changes in the coming years.

I'm all for that (which I sorta proposed) with one exception which is the CCHA. I can certainly see Notre Dame and Miami-Ohio (both with new arenas signaling a committment to the program) staying in the CCHA as why have to go through North Dakota, Denver, etc etc every year for a tournament bid if you don't have to. However, I'm concerned about those smaller schools dropping hockey when the big schools take off. If the CCHA becomes a 5 team conference its doomed. That means relying on the Bowling Greens and Ferris St of the world to keep up their commitment. If they don't Notre Dame and Miami would bolt and the conference dies.

Now if you can put a couple of schools in there who aren't in danger of dropping hockey, while not screwing the AHA at the same time, I think you need to do it. To me that's the only change that has to happen and its a relatively minor one IMHO. Then give players a weekend in a warm climate drinking pure Alabama moonshine by sending Alabama-Huntsville to the AHA. None of this should be too disruptive.

Jim
03-24-2011, 03:55 PM
I don't think Huntsville is going to the AHA. The schools there are already travelling to Air Force, who has no interest in leaving by the way. They aren't adding a trip to Huntsville Alabama. It simply isn't happening. Like it or not AHA remains committed to the principal of cost containment. Adding another program 1000 miles from the nearest competitor is totally inconsistent with that philosophy.

HungryHungryHuskies
03-24-2011, 03:58 PM
I've said for a long time that the only way it makes any sense for new teams to come up, unless they are major schools like Penn State, is to do it as a group. The original AHA/MAAC group upgraded with something like 8 schools all at the same time and were able to do so as their own league. It allowed them to have a ready made schedule, guarenteed home games, and frankly reasonalby comparable competition. Several of hte original teams, Fairfield, Iona, Quinipiac are no longer par tof the league. Q went on to the ECAc while the others dropped hockey, but they've been replaced over time and the league was large enough to withstand some comings and goings. To me that is what makes sense for an expansion. Unless you're a Penn State, maybe a Syracuse or Rhode Island, major universities with fairly massive athletic departments- The Big Ten operating budgets range from $40-90 million annually compared to about $15 million in the MAC, and my guess is it is MUCH lower at D-2 and D-3 schools-who doesn't have to worry about travel costs and home attendance, comin gin with a ready made league makes some sense. In effect it is what Penn State did, too for that matter. If I were looking to expand, I'd be approaching a couple of the D-3 leagues and particularly the D-2 teams about upgrading as a group and following the AHA cost containment model. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if there are any D-2 leagues beyond the Northeast 10.

I'm admittedly NOT the most knowledgeable person in regards to NCAA regulations, but wasn't it stated recently that if a program wanted to launch/upgrade to a D1 hockey program (or any sport for that matter), they would need to do so with the entire athletics department? I know a lot of teams came up to D1 in the late 90s/early 2000s (with RIT being the last), but I was under the impression that this was a result of disbanding D2 in hockey. If a team like Oswego, for example, wanted to join D1 now ... could they??