Rink and Run blog: Will the WCHA now be losing two teams?
Inside College Hockey, with Mike Eidelbes and Jess Myers doing the reporting Sunday, indicates that Penn State will announce the addition of varsity hockey for men and women as soon as this Friday, and that move would likely have a significant effect on the Western College Hockey Association and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. That story is here.
There has been talk off and on for years about the formation of a Big Ten Conference for hockey and this move may be the impetus for that conference.
According to Inside College Hockey, and other sources, the WCHA has had contact with Penn State. The CCHA previously stated that if Penn State added varsity hockey, the CCHA would court the Nittany Lions as a member.
A Big Ten men’s hockey league would include Penn State and the CCHA’s Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State, and the WCHA’s Minnesota and Wisconsin. That’s six members, the minimum number the NCAA requires for an automatic Division I playoff berth. (The WCHA begins play in 2010-11 with 12 teams with the addition of Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha.)
Because of advance league scheduling and other considerations, it’s believed a new league would not start until 2014-15 at the earliest.
WCHA meetings were held in Bloomington, Minn., last weekend and it’s believed men’s and women’s coaches were told of the impending Penn State announcement, and WCHA athletic directors will talk later this month about the ramifications of losing two star-quality programs like Wisconsin and Minnesota. It’s believed the Big Ten discussed the situation at league meetings in August in Chicago.