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WCHA press release on league meetings leaves more questions than answers

June 14, 2012 - Matt Wellens

MARQUETTE — The WCHA issued a press release this afternoon following three days of meetings, which I previewed here on the blog via a chat with commissioner Bruce McLeod on Tuesday.

The release issued today, however, has left me with more questions than answers.

Such as, is this all that was decided upon or is the league not quite ready yet to divulge every detail.

I plan on catching up with McLeod — as well as the NMU delegation of NMU head coach Walt Kyle, athletic director Forrest Karr, associate athletic director Steve Reed and president David Haynes — tonight or tomorrow morning to hopefully get some more answers.

Here’s the quick hits from the release:

— The league approved a 28-game league schedule, but failed to specify how that works. With nine teams in the league — meaning you have eight conference opponents— 32 games would have meant everyone in the league played each other four times a year, or two series. The 28 games leaves everyone four short of that. Also, how many times does everyone go to Alaska in a given year?

— The league approved a nine-team post season format, but failed to specify whether there will be a play-in game or an odd bracket. (See update below

— The league is still exploring venues for the WCHA Final Five. Since the league is still calling the championship game the Final Five, maybe that’s a hint as to how the nine-team playoff format will work. Or they just haven’t come up with a better name yet.

— League bylaws were updated. That’s all the release said.

— The WCHA created a “Steering Committee” that will coordinate and handle major issues going forward. NMU was left out of the four-person captain’s couch. The committee consists of Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport, Ferris State President Dave Eisler, Michigan Tech Athletic Director Suzanna Sanregret and Bowling Green State AD Greg Christopher.

UPDATE: Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press was able to confirm the playoff format, with the top seed receiving a bye straight to the league semifinals. Also, Jack Hittinger of the Bemidji Pioneer reports Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Fairbanks will play each other in the first round of the WCHA playoffs every year as a cost saving move, unless one is the league champion.

The complete WCHA press release, with canned quotes and little details, can be read below.

2013-14 WCHA Men’s Membership Concludes Productive Meetings in Detroit

MADISON, Wis. – The nine member teams that will make up the men’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association beginning in 2013-14 concluded a series of positive and productive meetings in Detroit this week and continue to move forward on a number of key issues.

“This is certainly an exciting time for the newly-integrated WCHA,” said Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport, who is the chair of the league’s President’s Council. “Our meetings this week were spirited and full of camaraderie, and we are all looking forward to the 2013-14 season. Across the board we are 100% committed to putting a highly competitive product on the ice in the WCHA, to compete for championships, to give our student athletes the best possible experience and to provide our fans with a great game-day experience. The WCHA brand is strong, historic and full of rich tradition and we will carry on that tremendous tradition and also build upon it.”

Among the many topics covered in the meetings,

•    the membership discussed and approved a 28-game league schedule for 2013-14

•    the membership discussed and approved a nine-team post-season tournament format

•    the membership discussed and updated the league’s by-laws

•    the membership discussed and continues to explore several potential venues for the annual WCHA Final Five playoff championship.

“We have accomplished a great deal and feel tremendously upbeat about where we are at as we look ahead to the 2013-14 season,” said WCHA Commissioner Bruce M. McLeod. “We have had very productive meetings with the coaches, athletic directors and presidents all present and we are united in moving forward to ensure the continued success of the WCHA and its member teams. We are also engaged in on-going discussions with various venues for our flagship event – the WCHA Final Five – and hope to finalize those championship plans as soon as possible.”

The league agreed on a change in governance that will have the Presidents Council act as the Board of Directors and the Athletic Directors serve as the Management Council. The President’s Council also created a Steering Committee to coordinate and handle major issues going forward. The Steering Committee consists of Minnesota State President Richard Davenport, Ferris State President Dave Eisler, Michigan Tech Athletic Director Suzanne Sanregret and Bowling Green State Athletic Director Greg Christopher.

Other topics of discussion at the meetings included expansion and identifying potential future member teams and future public relations and marketing initiatives to coincide with the 2013-14 campaign.

Founded in 1951 and home to a collegiate record 37 national championship teams, the men’s WCHA beginning in 2013-14 will consist of the University of Alaska Anchorage, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Bemidji State University, Bowling Green State University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and Northern Michigan University.



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