One of our writers likes to crack jokes about the fact that UB incessantly promotes the football team’s MAC East co-championship, which means that the Bulls simply finished in the top third of their six-team division.
Here’s a better one — with Wayne State’s college hockey demise, the winner of College Hockey America will have emerged from a field of four. That’s it. The four teams will play all those regular season games — 18 in league, they’re expecting — just to play a total of three games (two semifinals and a final) to determine who goes to the NCAA Tournament.
In Friday’s paper, we had a story about how Niagara’s Ed McLaughlin has been promoted to CHA interim commissioner. While that’s great for McLaughlin, who has clearly been an advocate for college hockey since coming to Monteagle Ridge, it’s a peculiar job. McLaughlin said his biggest concern is to place all the conference’s team into other conferences, or figure out how the CHA can expand.
While Niagara will likely stand no matter what comes of the league’s dissolving, the most precarious perch is held by Bemidji State, which could become a big-time player in the WCHA with a new building or could become defunct.
This story in the Bemidji Pioneer shows the optimism. Coach Tom Serratore said:
“If we do things right, this could end up being one of the top five rinks in the country. The BREC could very well end up being a major asset not just for Bemidji and the region, but the entire state. All of college hockey is very excited to see what the final product will be.”
That’s not necessarily true. Too many schools have little stake in adding teams like Bemidji and Niagara, programs that are close to the elite level, but could bring in even better recruits with admission to a major conference. Sad, but true, and the NCAA has done little to help these teams.
Instead, it’s stood by while teams like Wayne State have finally thrown up their hands and packed it in.