Tuesday, January 3, 2012

NCHC News Round-Up

Western Michigan Becomes Acquainted with New Opponents; NCHC to Name Commissioner

It is only fitting on the reported eve of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s announcement of their first commissioner that we take a look at what happened last weekend and look towards the next.

In what seems to be a burgeoning trend of one games “series” here in the west, the two newest teams to enter the NCHC, Saint Cloud State and Western Michigan, squared off this past Friday. The host Huskies hung in the game only to succumb in overtime 2-1.

Were there any conspiracy theorists at the game? The same group who have villainized the late-comers the most for waiting out the summer before joining the NCHC? As far as my sources say, it was a game without incident or further accusations of being double-agents against their current leagues.

Fast forward to tomorrow, well actually today, where it has been reported that Jim Scherr will be officially named as the first head of the NCHC. That report comes from the Colorado Spring’s Brian Gomez.

Scherr has his work cut out for him. First order of business is to maybe get a website and start some image management. The “Super Conference” hating has died down, but it is still simmering there somewhere. That is especially true in the WCHA where three of five Minnesota teams will be bolting, two to the NCHC and one to the Bi6 Ten. He should have a good handle on image maintenance/repair as Scherr is a former US Olympic Committee Chair.

Or maybe Scherr can start working on where the league’s tournament will be…better yet where it won’t be. It was reported just before the Christmas break by Let’s Play Hockey that the Target Center wants to bid on the event. Alert the media, the Target Center is pining for a big event to host. We would love for the tourney to be in Minnesota, but the Target Center is not the place. Two main problems:
  1. Would the NCHC really leave the Xcel Center, the premier hockey facility in Minnesota, empty to play at the Target Center? Would anybody do that? And
  2. If the Xcel isn’t available that is because they would already have a college hockey tournament there. Two college conference tournaments in the Twin Cities at the same time? Again, who would do that?
So as much as we would love to see the NCHC Tournament in Minnesota, the right and prudent choices have to be made as to where it makes the most sense.

Lastly, we take our tour of the NCHC news to the upcoming weekend when UMD will play their first games against Western Michigan. The trip to Kalamazoo will be the first of likely many between these teams bound for the NCHC. It will be a real test for the Bulldogs to continue their road quest and it will provide some momentum for the NCHC on the heels of naming their first commissioner.

Watch for the forthcoming College Hockey HighHorse preview of the UMD and WMU series set for this Friday and Saturday.

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