Multiple sources are speculating on the departure of the Miami RedHawks and the addition of Arizona State to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). A College Hockey News (CHN) article penned by Adam Wodon pleaded with the NCHC to Do the Right Thing, waive the one million dollar exit fee, and allow the RedHawks to escape to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). The CCHA was the RedHawks’ conference home for 33 years before joining the NCHC and, on balance, is less challenging and a more cost-effective regional option for the floundering program that has stacked losing seasons upon losing seasons.
Wodon concluded that the first step in any changes is the resolution of the RedHawks’ status as a conference member going forward.
The Miami hockey blog View from the Glass is speculating the revamped CCHA might take Western Michigan in addition to Miami – WMU is currently hemorrhaging cash. The post suggests the possibility of the conference fielding two divisions, North & South.
The surprising takeaway from the View from the Glass article by John Lachmann is Western’s precarious financial position. Further research shows a shocking decline in enrollment at WMU over the last decade – an issue for many schools around the country.
WMU has become a competitive force and a valued member in the NCHC but the headwinds may be too much for the Broncos. Could they also exit the NCHC based on need rather than desire? Surely, they would immediately be a competitive force in the CCHA.
Here’s how a divisional structure could look for the conference:
|Lake Superior State|
Teams might play four games against each divisional foe and two vs. opponents in the opposite division for a 26-game league schedule. Such a conference would provide regional and travel benefits to Miami and WMU.
Wodon pleads, “NCHC people — the athletic directors and school presidents of its member schools — should do the right thing here. Waive Miami’s exit fee. Give a pleasant ‘goodbye, nice knowing you, best of luck in the future” and send them on their way, no strings attached.”
These issues may be resolved shortly at this week’s Annual NCHC meeting in Naples, Florida with Conference coaches and athletic directors. These topics are sure to be near the top of the participants’ discussions.