I recall saying (and posting) that when the original big
by wearendhockey (2019-07-06 10:51:10)
Edited on 2019-07-06 10:53:41

In reply to: Western Conference changes  posted by graNDfan


changes were announced (formation of the NCHC, the B1G schools playing under their own flag, etc) that would not be the end and within a few years we'd see more big changes. One or more of the 3 WCHA teams being left out in the cold won't be around when the other seven finally make their exit from the nWCHA.

As soon as the NCHC was formed, the fate of UAH, UAF and UA was probably already sealed. The teams that made up the nWCHA were forced together without any real plan and for many no real connections to one another. That meant the league was hardly sustainable.

A brand like Notre Dame will (or should be able to) find a path to success no matter who they partner with. Schools like Bowling Green, Bemidji State, and Huntsville have little reason in 2019 to be partnered with each other, and absent the huge draws schools like Wisconsin or Minnesota were to the rest of the WCHA, and Notre Dame, MSU, OSU and UM were to the CCHA, they were left begging for scraps.

The B1G moved their tournament to home ice venues for higher seeds because they wisely saw how embarrassing the optics were of having 350 people watch an OSU/Michigan game in the 20,000 seat Joe Louis Arena. The nWCHA moved theirs to campus sites because their tournament was bleeding cash and they could not afford to stage it without the TV and ticket $$$ the Final Five brought in.

Up until 2011 college hockey seemed to be a relic of the past, a sport not sullied by the corrupting forces of money like college basketball and football. It almost certainly wasn't, but it did do a good job of keeping up that appearance.

The Compton is a nice place to watch a game, but somehow I miss the Joyce (A&CC too). The best time I ever had in my now fifth decade of following this sport was from 2006-2011. The game was what mattered. And Notre Dame was as good as anyone at it. Not anymore. Oh we're still good on the ice, probably among the top 3 or 4 programs out there, and it is only luck and timing that has kept the ultimate prize just out of reach. But it's not a coincidence that none of the 20 or so people I was closest to as my hockey friends for much of that time pay much attention to it anymore. I think some still occasionally go to home games, but none travel to road games anymore and none go to postseason games at all, save for maybe the B1G tournament games at the CFIA.

We're going to win that NCAA title before Jackson rides off into retirement. But I'm guessing there is a pretty good chance that unless that happens in the next year or two, the landscape of the sport will look a lot different again when it does happen.


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