WCHA to Formally Accept Northern Michigan
CHN Staff Report
SAINT PAUL, Minn. Northern Michigan will be officially approved for membership in the WCHA next week, according to a statement released by the league today.
Executives from the five schools that will remain in the WCHA as of 2013-14, met today in Minnesota to discuss the leagues future. The decision on Northern Michigan came out of that, and follows NMU's Board of Trustees approval earlier in the week for such a move.
Northern Michigan has previously been a WCHA member, but moved to the CCHA. The move reunites NMU with Upper Peninsula rival Michigan Tech.
The decision is the latest in a dizzying series of moves this summer, and helps ensure the WCHA's survival past 2013. The WCHA, now at 12 teams, is facing the loss of seven schools in 2013. Minnesota and Wisconsin will leave for the Big Ten, and five others will leave to form the NCHC, which was officially introduced Wednesday.
The WCHA, and the remaining five schools — Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Minnesota State, St. Cloud State and Michigan Tech — have all recently made comments re-affirming their commitment to the league and to Division I college hockey. But a conferences requires six members to qualify for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Meanwhile, Northern Michigan's move will further deplete the CCHA. The CCHA had 12 teams until Nebraska-Omaha left for the WCHA last year. Then, the Big Ten formation signaled to impending departure of Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. Miami announced its decision to leave for the NCHC, and Notre Dame is expected to shortly leave as well. Northern Michigan's departure will leave the CCHA at five teams as of 2013 — Alaska, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Bowling Green and Western Michigan — though many of those could soon go elsewhere as well.