July 11, 2011 PRINT Bookmark and Share

NMU in Talks to Return to WCHA

CHN Staff Report

The news continues to move fast and furious this offseason.

Not waiting to see how things will play out any further, Northern Michigan is closing in on an agreement with the WCHA to move back to its former home, sources confirm. The move of Alaska to the WCHA may be imminent as well. It was reported earlier today by the Duluth News-Tribune that NMU's move was a done deal, but CHN has not been able to confirm that yet.

Disregarding cries for patience going forward, in the aftermath of the exodus of 11 major programs leaving the WCHA and CCHA, Northern Michigan and the WCHA are each moving quickly to ensure their survival.

Northern Michigan has a regularly-scheduled board meeting set for Thursday, where this topic expects to be on the agenda.

With all of the pending moves, the WCHA would be left with five teams in 2013-14, not enough for an NCAA Tournament automatic bid. Bringing in two more teams ensures the WCHA will go on, and also renews the intra-conference rivalry between NMU and fellow Upper Peninsula school Michigan Tech.

However, after the creation of the Big Ten, and the pending announcement of a new "super conference", many had urged patience going forward in order to determine the best course for all of the "Remainders" — i.e. the teams left over in the WCHA and CCHA.

Clearly, the WCHA and Northern Michigan are not interested in waiting.

Notre Dame's departure from the CCHA is imminent as well, and Western Michigan will likely follow. If the NMU and Alaska moves become final, that would leave the CCHA as a shell of its former self, including only Bowling Green, Ferris State and Lake Superior State. That would leave the league near extinction.

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