Tuesday, August 11, 2009

CCHA shuts the door on Alabama Huntsville

Citing due diligence, and careful consideration and discussion, the CCHA has denied Alabama Huntsville (UAH) membership into their conference. UAH is the only remaining member of the CHA who will not have a home after this season. The WCHA wisely opened their door to Bemidji State while Niagara and Robert Morris are headed to Atlantic Hockey.

W/ Nebraska-Omaha's departure from the CCHA to the WCHA following this season, that left the CCHA w/ only 11 teams. WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod mentioned that the WCHA didn't want to just admit BSU because of the difficulties of a 11 team schedule; now the CCHA can show us all how it is done (maybe Michigan can somehow have an even easier schedule).

I'm not a fan of this decision simply because while I'm a Badger fan first and foremost, I really like College Hockey as a whole. I enjoyed the Frozen Four and the Final Five last year, I'll enjoy a college game anywhere. This puts the future of UAH in jeopordy, they will be the only independent after this season, and I think the CCHA dropped the ball. Travel considerations is a weak argument since Nebraska-Omaha is about the same distance to most schools. UAH is no powerhouse, but Ferris State and W. Michigan aren't either.

The CCHA makes their hay (so to speak) by having a bunch of "good" teams on top like Michigan, Miami (OH), Notre Lame and Michigan State, while the rest of the conference is just a feeder systems for wins for those teams to improve their Pairwise Rankings, since beating a bad team is still better (in most cases) than losing to someone. The opposite is true of the WCHA, where while Tech and UAA are consistently at the bottom of the standings, they would be fighting for a top 4 finish in the CCHA. WCHA teams beat the hell out of each other, while the CCHA is top and bottom heavy, and really letting UAH in wouldn't have changed that mix. They had their chance to do something good for College Hockey, and instead thumbed their nose at a school looking for a home.