BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- Bowling Green State University has accepted an invitation to join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for the 2013-2014 season.

“I’d like to thank the presidents of the institutions in the WCHA for extending this invitation,” BGSU president Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey said. “Our University and our hockey program has many similarities to the current WCHA members and we are excited to join with these schools in two years.”

The offer came on behalf of the presidents representing teams that will comprise the WCHA membership following the 2012-13 season. Offers also were extended to Central Collegiate Hockey Association institutions Alaska-Fairbanks, Ferris State, Lake Superior State and Western Michigan. Only Western Michigan has yet to accept the invitation.

Along with its CCHA brethren, Bowling Green will join Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan in the WCHA.

“The WCHA is a great fit for BGSU,” director of athletics Greg Christopher said. “WCHA teams are committed to the highest level of college hockey and competing for championships, just as we are at Bowling Green."

Bowling Green has played in the CCHA since its creation in 1971, and is the only founding institution to never leave the conference.

“We’re building our program to compete for championships,” head coach Chris Bergeron said. “I’m excited about the direction our program is headed and the league we are moving towards because of the opportunities it provides for us to continue to develop BGSU hockey.”

The shift in the hockey landscape started in March when the Big Ten announced that it would form a new conference for the 2013-14 season. Along with Minnesota, Wisconsin and newly formed Penn State, the new conference will include current CCHA members Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.

The creation of a second conference in July marked even more change for the CCHA, as reigning tournament champion Miami (Ohio) announced it would depart for the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference in 2013. The rest of the conference will be made up of former WCHA schools including North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth, Denver, Colorado College, St. Cloud State and Nebraska-Omaha.