So I'm thinking this morning about what WCHA teams generally want. They fall into the following categories:
A, Holding on and trying to figure out what kind of a future that their program has: UAA, UAF, UAH, LSSU
B, Lamenting past heights but trying to figure out how to punch up again as a smaller school (i.e., we need a top-six NHL forward again): BSU, FSU
C, Enjoying being a big fish in a small pond while they look to improve their national profile: BGSU, MTU, NMU
D, Waiting on the NCHC to get back to them: MSU
Those categories are in increasing levels of strength. I'd put BG in that highest class, but they don't want to be in the NCHC for travel purposes. I almost created a fifth group, "Waiting for massive realignment to renew the CCHA".
Based on that, who wants what out of any realignment?
A: They run the risk of truly getting screwed. Western realignment last time came down the way that it did because the incumbents wanted to keep the small, far-flung UA* schools in business. Frankly, all three have had their very existences threatened, and LSSU somehow has a smaller budget than even all of these (probably in part because 1/3 of their road trips are in-state). They just want to stay in the game.
B: They are in a better place, of course, but they risk getting pushed to the rubbish bin.
C: Do they have the profile to be up with Mankato? Part of that is going to be a function of geography. If a nouveau CCHA came along that didn't have Bi6 schools in it but did return the old actors and pull in MTU as well, isn't that a pretty decent league and better than what the WCHA is now if you don't keep all of A (like, taking UAF back)?
D: They're the shark circling the WCHA aquarium, chewing up teams for victories and wanting to be in a bigger, cleaner tank.
The reason to ask that is this: I'm not sure how realignment happens, but it could get ugly. The only school that leaves might be the Mavericks, but they'll have the money to pay the escape penalty. If much else happens — like recreating the CCHA — the WCHA as we know it wouldn't exist, and if you're a team in A, that fact makes you very nervous.