Friday, June 19, 2009

WCHA Expansion Vote coming

The vote to expand the WCHA and who those teams will be could come as early as next week. It appears an informal vote will come first, which makes sense. The obvious frontrunners are Bemidji State and w/ the hiring of Dean Blais, Nebraska Omaha, though rumblings of Alaska Fairbanks being the 12th team exist if UNO is rejected or stays in the CCHA.

Bruce McLeod, WCHA Commish, actually made some sane statements about Bemidji.

"If the league had their druthers, we might stay at 10," McLeod said. "We're making money on the tournament, there's record attendances every year, and things are good.

"But when you throw in the obligations of college hockey in the big picture and the demise of the College Hockey Association, we've gotta try to do something. We can't let (Bemidji) fold the tent."

Lastly, Andy Baggot should read the following:

Driving the expansion is Bemidji State, which will have to play next season as an independent -- never an easy thing in the relatively small world of NCAA Division I hockey, where there are 58 teams. Independents historically have a difficult time putting together a quality schedule and winning bids to the NCAA tournament.

It will be interesting to see how this all pans out, but I think we'll know soon who Wisconsin's new WCHA foes will be, and when they will join the conference.