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WCHA discusses Alabama-Huntsville, but too many questions remain
June 15, 2012 - Matt Wellens
MARQUETTE — Coaches, athletic directors and presidents from the nine universities that will make up the WCHA come 2013-14 held discussions during their meetings in Detroit this week concerning the addition of a 10th member, specifically Alabama-Huntsville.
WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said Friday the league is trying to gather as much information as possible about the Chargers, who have been an independent since College Hockey America folded in 2010.
At the same time, McLeod said the league doesn’t want to create any expectations for the people at UAH.
He was even hesitant to use the word "membership" when speaking about the Chargers.
“We’ll continue to investigate Hunstville,” McLeod said. “There’s different degrees of interest and I would say there are more questions than answers right now. We need to come up with a process to try and get those answers from Huntsville.
“We’re trying to balance that we don’t want to lead them along the path, but we also want to have all the facts on the table before we head down any kind of path with them.”
McLeod said the league is interested in getting to 10 teams. Currently the league will have nine for 2013-14 with Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Fairbanks, Northern Michigan, Michigan Tech, Lake Superior State, Ferris State, Bemidji State, Minnesota State Mankato and Bowling Green State.
According to one source who is familiar with past WCHA meetings, there is support in the league for adding the Chargers, however, it is not strong support and nowhere near a consensus.
Another source said the WCHA wouldn’t even be talking about adding Alabama-Huntsville if the league had an even number of teams, whether it was 10 or eight.
Northern Michigan University athletic director Forrest Karr was an advocate for the Chargers induction into the CCHA in 2009 when he was the athletic director at Alaska Fairbanks.
However, Karr was unable to discuss his point of view on Thursday as NMU AD about the possibility of the Chargers joining the WCHA since McLeod and the league has asked those talks to remain internal.
“I don’t think I could give you a good answer to (the amount of support for UAH) because there are differing opinions between the coaches and athletic directors in each institution,” McLeod said. “It’s really kind of hard to quantify the level of interest.”
McLeod said the league is keeping an eye on one school that could change the landscape of college hockey — Connecticut. The Huskies are being vetted by Hockey East, according to an Associated Press report.
Hockey East currently has 10 members, but will be adding Notre Dame in 2013-14 and would like a 12th member.
UConn’s move to Hockey East could open up a spot for UAH in Atlantic Hockey, which would drop to 11 members.
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