The revolving door of the college hockey world saw another two teams relocate this past week to new conferences. Leaving the WCHA is the St. Cloud State Huskies, a program who had sated in the conference since the 1990-91season.
The Huskies are headed to the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) after they received an official invite to join the new super-conference that had seen five WCHA teams commit to playing beginning in the 2013-14 season. St. Cloud State will join the likes of North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, Minnesota-Duluth, Colorado College, and Denver as members of the current WCHA who will head to “The National” after two seasons.
Also receiving an invite to the NCHC was the Western Michigan Broncos, a current member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Conference. The Broncos were also quick to accept the invite and will join Miami (Ohio) University as the second current CCHA team to commit to the NCHC.
With the inclusion of these two teams, the NCHC has grown to an eight-team conference and comes as a bit of a blow to the WCHA.
With St. Cloud State leaving, the WCHA now drops to eight-remaining teams set to begin play in 2013 14. Left to carry the WCHA flag is UAA, UAF, Michigan Tech, Bemidji State, Minnesota State, Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan, and Ferris State. On Aug. 25, the WCHA issued an official invitation to five teams from the CCHA to join the WCHA beginning in 2013-14.
While UAF, Lake Superior State, and Ferris State all responded quickly with acceptance, Western Michigan and Bowling Green University remained mum on if they would accept. While the hockey world now knows Western Michigan’s answer, Bowling Green looks to be running out of time on the one-month long window to join the WCHA.
Rumors still swirl that the WCHA and CCHA may not be through with looking to add to their conference numbers and stabilize their positions in the continually volatile college hockey landscape.