Todd Milewski (who I miss dearly covering Badger hockey) is the executive editor at USCHO and he has an update on the Big Ten hockey conference today stating that an announcement on the future conference home of the Badgers could come as soon as Monday.
At this point it's all but a certainty that Big Ten schools Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State will be joining up with start up program Penn State for the 2013 to form their own conference.
I would expect the announcement to include information not only about the start of the conference but what they plan to do for the conference tournament. The most logical thing to do in my opinion would be to have a conference tournament in Chicago will all six teams. Top two seeds get a bye.
It will be interesting also to note if they announce scheduling agreements with the WCHA and CCHA. The biggest argument against the formation of the conference is that some of the smaller programs may not survive without gate revenue from when these Big Ten schools come to town. The USCHO article mentions that WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod has had active talks with Wisconsin and Minnesota "regarding an ongoing scheduling relationship between the schools and the rest of the WCHA."
At this point it makes no sense to complain about the negatives about the Big Ten Hockey Conference because it's going to happen. There are multiple positives for the Wisconsin hockey program when it comes to the new conference. The most obvious being a television agreement with the Big10 Network which will generate more money for the program and will expose the program to more recruits. The TV deal will also be a selling point for recruits who's parents may not be able to make every trip to see them.
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