Top programs to form new league
Schools confirm plans to create new conference in 2013-14
OMAHA, Neb. -- Six of the top college hockey programs plan to form a new league in 2013-14, meaning the sport is headed for another conference shake-up.
The schools involved issued a joint statement Saturday confirming their plans to form a new conference.
Colorado College, Denver, reigning NCAA champion Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota will all leave the Western Collegiate Hockey Association to create the new conference. They’ll be joined by current Central Collegiate Hockey Association member Miami of Ohio.
The schools said details of the league will be provided at a news conference in Colorado Springs on Wednesday.
"We understand and appreciate the widespread interest in developments relating to the formation of the new hockey conference," the joint statement said. "More information will be provided about the initiatives that have been undertaken, as well as the next steps involved. "Our programs look forward to continued associations with our current leagues, the WCHA and CCHA, for the next two seasons."
The statement did not mention Notre Dame, which was rumored to be considering joining the new league.
The landscape of college hockey was already significantly altered this year when the Big Ten announced a plan to form a hockey conference in two seasons. The new Big Ten hockey league will take Minnesota and Wisconsin from the 50-year-old WCHA to play with Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State of the CCHA and the startup program at Penn State.
Once the new hockey league is established, the WCHA will have only five teams: Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State-Mankato and St. Cloud State. None of those remaining WCHA programs have the tradition or revenue-producing ability of schools like Minnesota, North Dakota or Denver.
The CCHA also would be diminished with only seven teams after the new league is formed.
Officials from the five remaining WCHA schools are expected to meet next week to discuss their future.
• Schools issue joint statement on realignment