Both Western Michigan and St. Cloud State announced Thursday that they have accepted the invitations to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference for the 2013-2014 season, the inaugural year for the NCHC.

The invitations were extended Wednesday and both schools took little time in accepting.

“This is a great day for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference to have these two outstanding institutions accept the invitations to become members of what we believe will be the premier college hockey conference in the United States,” said North Dakota athletic director and conference athletic directors committee spokesman Brian Faison in a press release. “St. Cloud State and Western Michigan will add a great deal to The National and we are very pleased to welcome them.”

The Broncos and Huskies will join Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota when the NCHC begins play for the 2013-2014 season.

“This is a significant day for our hockey program, our university and our community,” said WMU president John Dunn in a statement. “Today’s announcement is another positive demonstration of what is right about Western Michigan University and is a clear indicator of why our university and Kalamazoo are a wonderful place to call home. We are proud to carry the flag for WMU and represent the great State of Michigan in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.”

St. Cloud State is equally as ecstatic.

“St. Cloud State was given the opportunity 22 years ago to join the WCHA,” SCSU coach Bob Motzko said in a statement. “With our league members, we were able to build a program into national prominence and showcase our University throughout the country. We are forever grateful for this opportunity.

“Today, the opportunity to join The National gives us the ability to continue these strong relationships with Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota and to form new partners with Miami and Western Michigan. We are very excited for this challenge and look forward to a new chapter in the history of St. Cloud State hockey.”

The Huskies are the eighth of the current 12 WCHA teams to announce they’re leaving the conference in 2013.

“No question we are all disappointed by this latest announcement, but on behalf of the entire Association, we want to take this time to wish the Huskies and their men’s hockey program all the best in the future,” WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said in a statement. “St. Cloud State has been a valued and productive member of the WCHA.

“But in saying that, we also want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will persevere, soldier on and continue to do things as we always have — in a first-class manner. The eight programs that currently make up the new-look WCHA beginning in 2013-14 — Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska-Fairbanks, Bemidji State, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan — are 100 percent committed to Division I ice hockey and we are looking forward to working together toward a common goal of providing a first-class environment for our product, our student-athletes and our fans and doing what’s right for our sport. Our brand is strong and we intend to build on that.”

  • Joe C

    So now we have Hockey East at 10, ECAC at 12, Atlantic Hockey at 12, Big Ten Hockey Conference at 6, WCHA at , NCHC at 8 and WCHA at 8, Notre Dame and Bowling Green sitting on the sidelines and Alabama-Huntsville playing independent.

    I think Bowling Green is hoping to go to NCHC when/if Notre Dame decides to go there. However, since Notre Dame is far more worried about the football situation than it is with hockey. They truly have two years to decide. If they go to BTHC, it is automatic even with the seven teams. If they decide on HE, NCHC or WCHA, all three leagues will bend over backwards to have them join, up to and including brining a second team with them to balance scheduling.

    I think Bowling Green is playing a very dangerous game counting on the WCHA invite as open-ended or assuming that Notre Dame will be going to NCHC. The silence from Notre Dame with regards to hockey conferences is deafening. They are in a position not to do anything for a long time and then have whatever they do be accepted immediately. This is a fine position to be in, especially considering some of the vitriol about those teams that left WCHA/CCHA for BTHC and NCHC.

    • MNMike

      I think SCSU was a no-brainer. Westen Michigan was best play left for a Michigan school. Bowling Green is a big reach for the NCHC. They should grab WCHA invite. Can’t see anything changing for them in 2yrs. Notre Dame will wait it out to join BTHC or go to NCHC as last resort. Can’t rule out MSU-Mankato and BSU as real short candidates if NCHC wants to go to 10.

      • B.D.

        Concur, I see no reason for the NCHC to include Bowling Green. There is no value in it for the members of the NCHC to ask them in.

        • Ring_of_Fire

          Except for the fact that BGSU is a natural rival for Miami…. 

          I know tons of Redhawk fans would love to see BGSU in the NCHC.

          • B.D.

            Hmmmmmm….  But most of the other teams have chosen to opt away from THEIR chief rivals in order to join this league so that will not be a factor.

            I assume Miami will continue to schedule BGSU as a non-conference game much like UND will likely still attempt to schedule BSU and Minnesota.  And since the league is smaller, there will be more opporunity for such.

          • Ring_of_Fire

            Mostly agreed.  I was just trying to illustrate that there probably are some in the NCHC that wouldn’t mind inviting BGSU.

            But, I’d submit that North Dakota’s biggest TRADITIONAL rival is Minnesota…and they didn’t have a choice.  They had to opt out.  And I’d also submit that North Dakota’s biggest RECENT (last decade) rival is Denver…and they’re in the NCHC, too.

            Actually, you bring up a good point.  Looking at the NCHC teams and their natural rivals:

            Denver:  CC and North Dakota

            CC:  Denver

            Miami:  Bowling Green, Ohio State, Notre Dame

            UMD:  St. Cloud, Minnesota, other Minny schools

            UNO:  Too new to have traditional rivals – but Denver, CC, and North Dakota would seem to be logical choices

            North Dakota:  Minnesota, Denver, Wisconsin

            St. Cloud:  Minnesota, UMD, other Minny schools

            Western Michigan:  Michigan, Michigan State, Lake State (?)

            Honestly, looking at that, I’d say that the NCHC has preserved as many rivalries as it could, given the defection of the Big Ten…

          • B.D.

            I think in a couple years you will see a large UND vs UNO rivalry what with Dean Blais coaching UNO.

          • stud

            Your an idiot North Dakota’s biggest rival is st cloud state if you knew anything about college hockey…its there closest game

          • BD

            Bemidji is less than two hours and many in Grand Forks have connections to Bemidji in the form of lakehomes.  If proximity was key, than BSU would be it.
            As a North Dakota fan I gotta say I cannot recall ever thinking MUCH about ST Cloud one way or the other.

      • Ring_of_Fire

        Though stranger things have certainly happened, I simply can’t imagine the NCHC members would consent to further watering down their league by inviting Mankato and Bemidji….particularly with Notre Dame still “in play”.

  • Suture

    for sure, this is going to give the North Dakota fans a huge opportunity to compare their SOS and PWR versus the top team left in the WCHA

    • Fan Man

      The Sioux will always rank in the top 5 in SOS period!  Thats just how we roll.

      To be the best, you gotta beat the best my friend

  • Dear Value Commission Bruce McLeod.
    You have 8 teams that currently make up the new-look WCHA beginning in 2013-14 – Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Fairbanks, Bemidji State, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan – are 100% UNFINISHED –> You forgot one things is add 4 teams (Mercyhurst, Robert Morris, Niagara and Bowling Green and UAH. All totals are 14 teams. You are so Great man!

    • JamesDee

      I think you will have to minus two teams from the 14 (Mankato and Bemdji) will go to the NCHC and make it 12.

      The NCHC will be happy with 10 with all four Minnesota teams together for the best of college hockey.

      Bowling Green will want to join the WCHA with the four AHA teams to help in travel for them.

      Minus all Minnesota teams look for a WCHA playoff in NHL towns of Pittsburgh and Buffalo in the near future.

      • B.D.

        What value does having all four Minnesota teams together present?

        • entertainment

          Absolutely nothing.  “JamesDee” has predicted every absurd scenario possible over the past 6 weeks… I read daily  just to see what completely un-knowledgable comments/scenario’s he comes up with in each new article.  Seriously it’s like reading Paula.

    • B.D.


  • Guest

    The WCHA Women’s conference is a mess! Commissioner McLeod ought to kick out all of the NCHC and Big Ten schools, tell Bemidji and MN State to move to the CHA, and just shut it down. Don’t let the NCHC and Big Ten schools use the WCHA name is any way, shape or form.

  • Jfranck

    Minnesota can’t schedule UND outside of conference affiliation, unless the sooooo name changes.  That’s why you see the Gophs football team schedule easy football games against NDSU, USD, and SDSU and not UND.  It’s a decree/rule handed down by the Regents, the governing body for UMinn.  … Oh wait … maybe NDSU is not that easy of a game …