Wednesday, September 21, 2011

St. Cloud State Hockey Welcomed into the 'Premier College Hockey Conference'

The National College Hockey Conference has extended invitations to Western Michigan and St. Cloud State today. Brian Faison, director of athletics at North Dakota and spokesperson for The National's Athletic Directors Committee had this to say about the invitation:
"After a thorough and deliberate evaluation process, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference is delighted to extend invitations to St. Cloud State and Western Michigan to become members of what we believe will be the premier college hockey conference in the United States."
Furthermore, Faison said:
"Both universities fit perfectly with the established goals of our conference membership. Their programs are highly competitive and produce quality student-athletes. Each institution has made significant commitments to the continued success of their hockey programs and they are both located in tradition-rich hockey states. St. Cloud State and Western Michigan, with their passionate fans, will add a great deal to The National and we look forward to welcoming them."
The comments Faison made about St. Cloud State being "highly competitive", producing "quality student athletes", commitment to the "success of their hockey programs" and "passionate fans" are all things I mentioned in my last blog post on why Husky fans should not give up hope on SCSU joining the NCHC.
"It is possible that SCSU could join with the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). St. Cloud State's program is the best remaining team in the CCHA and WCHA (arguably even better than some of the teams that have already joined the NCHC) and the NCHC will be looking to get to that magic 8 team conference."
As excited as I am that the NCHC has realized the strength and dedication of the St. Cloud State hockey program, the reality of the NCHC is that its founding WCHA members (UND, DU, CC, UNO, UMD) should not have left the WCHA in the first place. The WCHA could have, and arguably should have, just added Miami and Western Michigan. There were, and are, problems with the WCHA but the formation of the NCHC was not the appropriate reaction.

St. Cloud State plans on announcing its decision about the invitation to join the NCHC at a media conference scheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22 in St. Cloud. It is expected that St. Cloud will formally announce its decision to join the NCHC at the conference given that Brian Faison, President Earl Potter, Coach Bob Motzko, and Gino Gasparini will all be in attendance at tomorrow's press conference.

The acceptance of the St. Cloud State hockey program into the NCHC is a great thing for St. Cloud hockey. We will remain a member of the "premier college hockey conference in the United States" as we transition from the WCHA to the NCHC. St. Cloud will benefit by playing with what is likely to become the strongest conference, possible greater TV exposure, and better recruits who want to play in the NCHC. The passionate Husky fan base will be energized to see their team play and compete with the best teams in the nation. The NCHC is a good thing for Husky hockey.

However, the NCHC is not a great thing for the history and tradition of the WCHA. It is disappointing to see such a great thing lose its prominence in collegiate hockey.

Go Huskies!!!

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