Friday, June 12, 2009

Could the WCHA be going to 12?

Today Nebraska-Omaha hired former Sioux and Fargo Force (USHL) coach Dean Blais to take over as the head coach of their program replacing the only coach in school history Mike Kemp who moved into administration.

Thanks to Goon's World for the link, over on Let's Play Hockey they are reporting that as part of his deal to accept the offer UNO agrees to join the WCHA and leave the very watered down CCHA. This could be the 12th team the WCHA is looking for in accepting Bemidji State as the 11th team and keep the conference at an even number.

A few days ago there was talk that Alaska Fairbanks was interested in being the 12th team. In a 12 team WCHA, two teams would have to make double the trips to Alaska each year. This could be done as a back to back weekend thing, which would be ideal for fans if it were in the summer when Alaska is worth visiting. I'm not sure why the CCHA schools would want to give up the exemption to traveling to Alaska.

If UAF joined the WCHA, the CCHA would have no leg to stand on for not allowing Huntsville to join. Even if UNO joined, the travel time to Hunstville would be simiar for most schools compared to traveling to Omaha.

Overall, I'm in favor of a 12 team WCHA mainly for the point I brought up earlier in week that college hockey is a small community and if the powers that be don't bend and give in a little, two teams WILL go by the way side, which doesn't help anyone.

Should be interesting to see how all this pans out in the coming months. It appears the WCHA will go to 12 teams in 2011/12.