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Holy Cross Added To Schedule

The hockey season ticket renewal mailings went out this past week and while the full schedule isn’t finalized, there does appear to be a change from what was distributed at the Reverse Raffle in April. The letter mentions home games against Harvard, Yale, and Holy Cross. The first two we knew about, but a game against the Crusaders wasn’t on the original schedule. It appears that Holy Cross has replaced UConn from that earlier schedule, as the Huskies released their schedule and it doesn’t have them coming to Amherst.

I did notice that Bentley released their schedule, confirming their game against UMass.

From what I’ve heard, everything is still on track for UMass to play Vermont at Fenway on January 7th. Others have noted that Hockey East has kept that date clear of games involving other Hockey East teams.

Speaking of the season ticket renewal, one benefit that has been instituted this year is a discount based on the length of time you’ve had season tickets. It definitely pays to get seasons tickets.

Sounds like co-captain T.J. Syner was impressive at Capitals Development camp, scoring two goals in the final scrimmage and drawing praise from a Caps blogger.

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News From Other Rinks

I’m taking a break from my weekly View From Section U to, frankly, think of my next topic.  As we turn the corner to August and the end of Summer I want to start to focus on next season.  However, I’m really hoping the online roster gets updated soon so I know exactly what we’re looking at come October and so I can properly preview the team to be.  I fully expect some players will not be returning from next year and I’ve already heard rumors of freshmen not making it to campus this fall due to unforeseen circumstances.  However, we’ll know all that eventually.

There’s really no UMass hockey news to pass along that I know of.  Toot has his slightly reformulated staff in place and is likely on the road recruiting.  Those that follow the current and incoming players on Twitter know that they’re hard at work training.  It’s always nice to see hashtags like #legsfeedthewolf coming from some of the soon to be freshmen.

But while things are quiet, for now, surrounding the UMass hockey program, there are some tidbits to pass along from the world of college hockey.

In alumni news, Jon Quick was highlighted as one of the top shootout goaltenders in the NHL.  It’s fitting that the only game I’ve seen of Quick in the pros was a shootout win against the Bruins in the season before last.

After lounging all summer and losing some prize players and recruits Northeastern has finally realized that they just may need to hire a new coach for the coming season.  The Husky program turns to Jim Madigan to continue to success they saw under Greg Cronin, but without the potential NCAA violations.  If I were a Northeastern fan this hire would scare the hell out of me.  Don’t get me wrong, I always love to see alums take over at their alma mater and Madigan’s history of scout shows he can judge talent.  But the guy has never been a head coach at any level and was last an assistant coach almost 20 years ago.  The Northeastern program scratched their way into the realm of relevance for Boston area hockey.  It’ll be interesting to see where they find themselves in a few years with this hire.  College Hockey News’ Joe Meloni has an interesting read on the hire.

Niagara, Canisius, Robert Morris, and Mercyhurst have had discussions with the CCHA about leaving Atlantic Hockey for the Midwest based conference.  I think this is a great idea.  These schools, especially Niagara, have shown sustained interest in putting more resources into their program but because of the rules of Atlantic Hockey are unable to offer the full allotment of scholarship allowed the NCAA.  The AHA just recently voted down the prospect of raising the scholarship limit this past spring.  I think some or all of this group jumping to the CCHA will do a good job of aligning like minded schools in regards to the goals for their hockey programs.

Former UMass grad assistant Darren Yopyk has taken a job as a scout for the Minnesota Wild.  Yopyk, who was also an assistant for Merrimack, has been coaching the Westside Warriors of the BCHL.  He coach incoming goaltenders Kevin Boyle there last season.

Rivalry Poll Follow-up

So last week I wrote this post about UMass and its potential rivals in the college hockey world and invited readers to vote on the Fear The Triangle Facebook page for who they thought was best suited to be UMass’ main rival.  Here are the current results of the voting:

Maine – 20 votes
Vermont – 14
Lowell – 10
Boston College – 9
Other – 2 (Minnesota State and ?)

Those results include my vote, which I just cast.  For the reasons I outlined last week I’ve always wanted UMass to have its chief rivalry with Boston College.  I think the dynamics I mentioned; two largest athletic programs, play each other in all sports, and the state agricultural school versus private school in the city, work very well to building a rivalry.  But because UMass has had little success against BC on the ice and the Eagles are already part of one of the better rivalries in college hockey, I don’t think this will ever come to fruition.

For those reasons my vote went to Vermont.  While these teams haven’t played a lot of important games in recent time, they do have history going back further than most other choices on the list.  They also already have established traditions like the Turkey Tuesday game and if in fact they do play each other at Fenway this winter, it will only add to the connection between the schools.  A major consideration for choosing the Catamounts is that they don’t currently have a chief rival.  You can’t say the same for Maine.  While the Black Bears and Minutemen have had some thrilling games and have both gotten their licks in against each other, I’m sure if you asked a Maine fan who their rivals are they’d say UNH, BU, and everyone else.

Thanks to everyone who provided their feedback, either through comments and voting.  It was great to hear what other UMass fans and even some non-UMass fans thought on this subject.

The Sharks have a good profile and interview with Justin Braun up on their site.

View From Section U: UMass’ Rival?

The offseason has given me an opportunity to use my semi-weekly View From Section U column to explore topics I probably wouldn’t get a chance to during the season.  My post covering the history of freshman heavy squads at UMass and my open letter to Timothy Anderson in support of a hockey band were both very enjoyable to write.  And from the tremendous feedback relating to the hockey band letter, FTT readers were as passionate about reading it as I was writing it.  So this week I take a stab at a topic that could probably be covered in just a few words in other parts of the hockey world.  Just who is UMass’ rival?

Ask that question at Boston University, Colorado College, or Michigan State and the answer comes with quickness and maybe a bit of a snarl.  But ask a UMass hockey fan that question and you’ll likely get some hemming and hawing and about a dozen different answers.  For a number of reasons, UMass has had a tough time establishing a traditional rival in any sports.  For the longest time Temple was seen as the main rival in basketball.  Yet in football New Hampshire or Delaware were the opponents people would circle on the schedule.  Lacrosse games against Syracuse saw Garber Field bursting at the seams.  But even all of those rivalries have waxed and waned over the time.  UMass, playing in multiple conferences, in two different football divisions, with distance from like schools and varying levels of success, has had a tough time developing rivalries through its history.

Hockey has been no exception to this.  Over the years there have been games, or series of games, that have had all the drama and emotion of a rivalry.  But a year or two later that opponent fades back into the pack.  So let us explore UMass’ potential rivalries and the history and reasoning behind each of them.  For the sake of just presenting them as is and not trying to rank them myself, I’m listing them in alphabetical order.

American International College
Ok, you’re probably laughing.  But due to the fact that they’re the only other DI school in Western Mass, I felt I needed to at least include them.  But pure geographic proximity doesn’t necessarily make a rivalry.  There needs to be give and take and the sense that something is on the line when the teams play.  That’s not there when AIC makes the trip up to the Mullins for their semi-regular beating in the modern era of UMass hockey.  Although I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that UMass has an all-time record against the Yellow Jackets of 11-20-1 (you’re welcome, Donnie).  However the last time they won was 1966.

Boston College
UMass first played BC way back in 1920, with the Aggies of Massachusetts Agricultural College taking the first game 5-4.  But the teams played very little after that.  When UMass joined Hockey East in the mid-90’s the teams were actually on pretty level footing and even played a one game playoff in 94-95 to decide who would get to move onto the conference quarterfinals.  UMass won.  But shortly after BC hired Jerry York and the teams have had very different overall results since.  On paper this looks like it could be a very good rivalry.  These are the two largest college athletic programs in the state.  They play regularly in almost all the other sports, with even the matchup on the gridiron taking on a more significant role in the future.  You also have the interesting dynamic of the snooty private school in Boston Newton versus the blue collar your state U in the hinterlands beyond 495.  But while the Eagles have drawn good crowds to the Mullins, these teams just don’t play big games against each other.  And when they do, UMass loses.

Boston University
Like BC, UMass first played BU and first beat BU in 1920.  But also like BC, the record has been decidedly in BU’s favor ever since.  But there have been some dramatic games against the Terriers, like the Chris Capraro overtime game winner or more recently knocking off BU in consecutive years when they were ranked in the top 2 of the country.  Still, the drama and attention of those games have been pretty much one-sided, likely barely even remembered by Terrier fans.  Another problem with trying to develop a rivalry with BC or BU is that they already have one of the greatest rivalries in all of college hockey; with each other.

Lowell
This one seems like it should be more of a natural rival.  Here you have flagship versus satellite campus.  The Lowell fans always seem to think we’re trying to get rid of their program and the UMass fans are tired of the lesser campuses sullying our good name.  Lowell has the advantage in overall record but it’s much closer than UMass’ versus other Hockey East teams.  But there are a few problems with a potential rivalry.  First, while Lowell fans (and players) certainly get excited to try and take down the flagship, the sister school seems to do little to create excitement among the general UMass population.  The buzz surrounding a Lowell game isn’t much different than Providence to most in the Mullins.  Secondly, these teams have rarely played meaningful games.  In fact, the biggest storyline surrounding these teams were actually Lowell wins that turned into losses back in 2004 when they had to forfeit games for using an ineligible player.  As a result Lowell had to visit the Mullins in the quarterfinals and promptly got swept.  The last issue is that Lowell already has somewhat of a rivalry with neighboring Merrimack.  There’s certainly a lot of potential  to this rivalry but the teams need some heart wrenching games with everything on the line for the fans to buy into it.

Maine
There was a time when a major rivalry between these teams was well on its way to fruition.  Going into the 2003 quarterfinals UMass had never beaten the Black Bears in Orono, yet shocked them in those games thanks some heroic goaltending by Gabe Winer.  The next year the teams met again in arguably the most thrilling Hockey East Championship Game ever, with Maine winning in the third overtime.  The teams played some exciting games in the next few years and then would play some key games again in 2007.  With home ice and a potential NCAA berth on the line UMass hosted Maine in the last weekend of the regular season and promptly swept them.  As a reward UMass got home ice for the quarterfinals and again played host to Maine.  And again they swept them.  The four wins helped UMass squeak into the field of 16 for the NCAA tournament and no doubt resulted in a lot of angst up north as fan called for Tim Whitehead’s head.  Of course both teams ended up in the same bracket in the NCAAs and met in the second round with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line.  UMass could not make it five in a row however and bowed out 3-1.  I would argue that UMass has played and won more important games against Maine than all the other Hockey East games combined.  Unfortunately, the Bears already have a well established rivalry with nearby UNH so it’s tough to determine just how deep a rivalry the Minutemen could develop with them.

New Hampshire
UMass has also played some key games against UNH, such as Hockey East semifinal games in 2003 and 2004.  But outside of that and some exciting regular season games, these teams haven’t played a ton of real key games in terms of the big picture.  The natural rivalry between these schools will probably wane with UMass moving to the MAC and the annual football game, where the MVP is awarded the Bill Knight Trophy, is no longer played.

UConn
The Huskies are probably the most natural all-sport rival for UMass.  History between the teams go back decades to when they were the powers of the old Yankee Conference.  However an unfortunate thing happened along the way, UConn stopped playing UMass in a lot of those sports.  John Calipari brought the UMass basketball program from the dregs to a national power and Jim Calhoun turned chicken.  UConn used their clout for a stadium and Big East membership and left UMass behind in football, though not before the Minutemen dismantled them 62-20 in their final meeting.  But the teams still meet once in a while in hockey.  For UConn, the meeting means everything.  In the few seasons where they’ve beaten UMass, a Hockey East team, it’s been the highlight of the season.  When UMass plays the Huskies however anything less than a throttling of the perennial Atlantic Hockey also-ran is an embarrassment.  Until UConn gets serious about hockey, it’s tough to see these two programs being major rivals.

Vermont
UMass and the Catamounts have a storied rivalry that dates back to when both teams were top teams in DII.  One of my favorite articles to come out of the Daily Collegian in the past decade was this piece by Jeff Howe, now of NESN, on the rivalry between these two teams in those days.  The powers that be paid homage to those earlier days by setting up an annual game between the teams during the week of Thanksgiving back in 1996.  When the Catamounts jumped to Hockey East, the annual Turkey Tuesday game was fit into the league schedule.  While the teams haven’t played games of great magnitude as they did in earlier times, they do play some exciting ones.  Three of four meetings from 2008 to 2009 went to overtime.  If you want to talk historical rival for UMass, this is probably it.

So there you have it.  Who is UMass’ rival in hockey now and hopefully in the future?  Did I miss a team?  Did the annual battles for 8th place create a connection with Merrimack?  Will UMass continuing its annual series with Quinnipiac create a rival in the Nutmeg state that UConn has been unable to fulfill?

Please make sure to visit the poll I’ve set up on the Fear The Triangle Facebook page to vote on who you think is UMass’ rival.  Next week I’ll come back with the results and clue you into who I consider to be UMass’ biggest rivals.

The Blaise MacDonald’s hiring is covered by the Gazette, College Hockey News, and USCHO.

A writer from The Hockey News is reporting that Brandon Shea, who visited UMass before committing to BC, is bolting to Moncton of the QMJHL.  On the surface this is great for UMass since they won’t have to go up against one of the best amateur players from the state of Massachusetts.  Yet, I still hate to see major junior poaching young American players who have already committed to college hockey (like John Carlson or Zack Phillips to name a couple).  This is a big surprise to me since through some personal connections I’ve been following him for a while years and had always heard he was likely going to BC, even before he was the age of 10.  It’s certainly a loss for BC, but a loss for college hockey as a whole.

The Northern Michigan Wildcats will officially be joining the WCHA as of 2013.  This move reunites them with their traditional rival, Michigan Tech.  Let the Yoopers rejoice!

MacDonald Joins UMass Coaching Staff

With Red Gendron officially joining Yale over the weekend, it didn’t take long for his replacement to become official.  The university announced today that former Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald will be joining the Minutemen as an assistant coach.  As readers know, both moves have been in the works for a while since first being reported by USHR last month.

Let me repeat what I wrote when this was all originally reported,  and that’s to thank Coach Gendron for his contributions to UMass hockey.  If there has been one aspect of the program that I’ve thought has consistently been good year in and year out it has been recruiting, and Red has been a big part of that.  He has also been a great ambassador of the program and friendly and approachable towards all who follow the program.  I wish him well in the future, however considering he possesses two Stanley Cup rings and an NCAA championship it’s clear that success will seek him out.

Dick Baker has a good post covering both Gendron moving on and MacDonald’s hiring where Red cites Yale’s quality program, his longtime relationship with Bulldog coach Keith Allain, and the opportunity to be an associate head coach as his reasons for leaving.  Also likely a motivation is the job security that comes with a coaching job in the Ivy League (*coughdonatocough*) compared to the situation here at UMass where it’s likely Toot Cahoon will be retiring sometime in the next few years.  Still, Coach Gendron will be missed.

Regarding the hiring of MacDonald, I think it’s a good move.  You don’t often get the chance to add someone with extensive head coaching experience to staff.  Frankly, I wasn’t surprised that his tenure at Lowell ended this spring after a number of seasons where his teams underperformed.  However, throughout his time at Lowell I always admired the job he did recruiting.  Despite not always having the best facilities or even much support from school administration at times he consistently brought in quality classes.  I would argue his recruiting classes were as good, if not better, than UMass’ in the last few years.  The program shouldn’t lose anything by putting him in the lead assistant role.

So MacDonald is obviously well-qualified for this position.  The only reservation I have is whether this would’ve been a good opportunity to bring in a  dynamic young assistant to groom for when Toot retires.  Would such a thing be plausible however?  Perhaps not.  Maybe it would be better for such future candidates to gain deeper head coaching experience at other levels of hockey.  I guess just as long as we truly get an open and aggressive search when it does come time to fill the head coaching position, versus taking the easy route to just hand it off to someone familiar, I’ll be happy.

It’ll be interesting to see if UMass picks up any commitments in the next few weeks of recruits who maybe were preparing to commit to Lowell before the made their coaching change.

Obi Aduba has resigned with Quad City Mallards of the CHL (who barely escaped death this offseason).  He’ll also be attending training camp for the Springfield Falcons this fall.

Greg Mauldin is one of the featured coaches for the Junior Bruins summer camp this year, his team before coming to UMass.  I believe that Colin Shea is also working at the camp.

Red’s Departure From UMass Official

Some UMass related links to pass along.

The New Haven Register is now reporting that assistant Red Gendron is heading to Yale.  The announcement will likely come later this week.  And everything I’ve heard points to his replacement at UMass being former Lowell coach Blaise McDonald.  I’ll likely have more on Red later in the week.  USCHO is also reporting the move.

Checking around the NHL camps, here is a feature on Mike Marcou and his time at Islanders camp.  Conor Allen is featured on a video from the Capitals website.  He does a great job of making the case for college hockey.

Casey Wellman has signed a one year, two way contract with the Wild.

Of course the big college hockey news of the week was the official unveiling of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.  That’s the last time I’m ever typing that out.  And no, I refuse to call it “The National”.  Although I may call it “Natty”.  The forming of the NCHC led to Northern Michigan jumping to the WCHA.  Of course everyone is still waiting for Notre Dame to make up their mind in this conference realignment.

Meanwhile, Minnesota State Moorhead is working towards upgrading their program to DI.

Syner & Allen Off To Camp

I believe I said last week that the coverage of the development camps coming from the NHL teams themselves has frankly sucked.  Sure enough, despite the fact that they’re not on the official Washington Capitals Development Camp Roster, it turns out both T.J. Syner and Conor Allen are attending the camp.  Thankfully the Washington Post appears to be on top of things.

Sounds like Adam Phillips was on the receiving end of a cheap shot at Flyers camp.  (Flyers?!  Cheap shots?!?)  I’ve seen a few other recaps of his performance at camp but they all say the same thing:  “Plays well, needs to add weight”.  Nothing we didn’t already know.

I suspect a number of former Minutemen will be at the San Jose Sharks camp later this month, but for some reason in the past they’ve kept the goings on there, including the roster, from the general public.

Here’s a video found of 2012 recruit Kenny Gillespie (#19) scoring a goal for Shattuck St. Mary’s from this past February.  Nice to see him use his 6’2” frame to get in front of the net and then put the loose puck in the net off the backhand.

The Iron Mountain Daily News out of Michigan reports that Boston University and Boston College were both invited to the new hockey conference being formed out west, but said no.  I can’t imagine either school would seriously consider leaving the already strong Hockey East, with its natural rivalries and easier logistics, to be with a group of Midwest and Rocky Mountain schools they have little in common with.  The report also states that Notre Dame is looking for a league smaller than Hockey East’s 10 team league.  I wonder if Western Michigan coach Jeff Blashill, who turned the Broncos into an NCAA team this year, jumping to the Red Wings will hurt WMU’s chances of gaining an invite to the new league.

Hockey Band Follow-up; Mauldin Re-signs.

Thanks to everyone who has co-signed my letter to Timothy Anderson in support of a band for the UMass hockey program.  As of this writing 21 fellow hockey fans have co-signed.  Dick Baker also addresses the subject in his most recent blog post on Masslive.

I’m happy to report that I received a positive response from Dr. Anderson to the letter/post.  He said that he recognizes the difference a band can have on the college hockey atmosphere and stated that the prospect of one at UMass will be looked at in the future.  No doubt his main focus at this time is just to make a smooth transition for the program as a whole, so I would not expect the idea of a band to be explored until after this coming season.  Still, I’m glad that with my post and the many who showed their support for it we’ve been able to bring the topic to his attention and that he’s willing to have an open mind to the idea.

Glad to see that the Colorado Avalanche have re-signed Greg Mauldin to a one year deal.   Mauldin had five goals and five assists in 29 games with the Avs and became a fan favorite in his short time up with the big club.

Correcting something I had reported earlier, it appears that T.J. Syner unfortunately will not be attending Washington’s prospect camp.

It appears that the rumored “super” conference in the West will become a reality.  Here is a good overview from College Hockey News.  Still waiting to see if Notre Dame heads east or west.

An Open Letter To Timothy Anderson

Dear Dr. Anderson,

First off, congratulations on being named Director of the University of Massachusetts Marching Band.  The Power and Class is a significant point of pride for the university and holds a special place in the heart of all alumni and friends of the university.  I welcome you to the UMass community and wish you luck in your endeavor to continue the tradition of excellence that has signified the UMass Marching Band during its existence.

However, I would also like to bring your attention to a gap in the marching band’s mission over its history.  The band’s representation at football games is legendary and it’s fitting that the school’s lone national championship in the sport, occurring in 1998, was accompanied by a Sudler Trophy for the marching band.  As well, the band’s presence for basketball games is equally cherished going back to the “Rage In The Cage” days when the team was making a name for themselves in Curry Hicks.  But, there is one more sport would also greatly benefit from music provided from a pep band that currently does not.  Hockey.

On all the prominent college hockey campuses across the country the sport is  accompanied by a band.  In my hockey travels I’ve had the privilege of hearing great hockey bands play famous tunes, from “The Stein Song” in Orono, Maine to “When You’ve Said Wisconsin…” in Madison, Wisconsin and can attest to how much they enhance the experience, in even the most hallowed of hockey barns.  A particularly memorable hockey band moment was seeing a ragtag group of RPI graduates assemble with instruments in Tampa, Florida to support their alma mater in the most tropical of hockey locales.

Currently eight of the ten Hockey East schools have a hockey pep band and a ninth, the small, private Merrimack College, has fielded a student-led hockey band at different times in their existence.  Most of these schools have pep bands that exist to support multiple sports.  A handful of them, like Boston College, New Hampshire, and Maine, are able to field bands supporting football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s hockey, and even women’s hockey.  However despite having the largest student body in Hockey East, the largest number of band members, and by far the greatest level of prestige for its marching ban,d UMass has only been able to support football and men’s and women’s basketball, leaving hockey lacking in its overall college hockey experience.

There was a time in the history of UMass hockey when a pep band may have in fact outnumbered those in attendance.  Thankfully, those days are over.  Two years ago the hockey program was ranked 10th in the country for attendance.  UMass hockey now competes regularly with men’s basketball as the second most attended sport on a per game basis on campus and is tops when it comes to student attendance.  Those students bring a lot of energy and passion to their seats on the west side of the Mullins Center, but overall their efforts are usually disjointed and underwhelming.  There is no band there to join in with, celebrate alongside, or keep their attention during the breaks in action.  Instead a key play is generally met with unorganized cheering and stoppages of play are filled with canned music consisting of grating techno or even worse, country.  The atmosphere of UMass hockey has come a long way from its beginnings but there are still some strides left to take to be considered one of the best atmospheres in the conference or even the country.  A band would do wonders to closing that gap.  A band could become the rallying point of celebration and tradition at the games, leading the entire crowd in cheering on the Minutemen to victory.

Previously there were different opinions regarding the value of a pep band for the hockey program.  Despite the advocacy of numerous hockey supporters we have been unable to secure a spot for the band to become a part of the UMass hockey experience.  With your arrival on campus myself and others are hoping this will be an opportunity for the band and hockey programs to enter a mutually beneficial relationship.  As the Power and Class begins a new era I would hope you seriously consider how a band for the hockey team would greatly benefit the participating student athletes, students, alumni, and fans and more deeply fulfill the band program’s mission to support the University of Massachusetts campus.  UMass hockey fans have longed to hear the chords of “Fight Mass” ring out following a goal and the notes of “Twilight Shadows” as the players raise their sticks to the rafters following a win.  We sincerely hope you can help us to experience such a moment.

Sincerely,

Mark Coogan ‘98 ‘06MBA
www.fearthetriangle.com

Random things found on YouTube.  UMass commit 6’7” Oleg Yevenko versus former UMass commit (and now property of RPI) 6’6” Luke Curadi.  Yevenko in the dark jersey.  Looks like it was a decent fight.

Mike Marcou is attending the New York Islanders Development Camp for the second straight summer.  No doubt the Long Island native is happy for the chance to train with his hometown team.

Overall I have to say that the coverage of the NHL prospect camps, both in terms of independent media and team based, decidedly sucks.

Someday a UMass hockey alum will have the chance to lift the Stanley Cup.  Not quite the same, but this is pretty damn cool.  Congrats to Ryan Nadeau.  You have to at least respect the playoff beard.

Former UMass assistant Mark Dennehy has done an outstanding job at Merrimack so it’s of no surprise that he was a hot commodity in the coaching market this offseason.  Therefore, Merrimack’s signing of him through 2019 is a clear signal that they’re serious about hockey.

Meanwhile, Northeastern does realize they’ll need a coach by the beginning of the regular season, right?

A college hockey “Super Conference”?  First of all, college hockey already has a Super Conference.  It’s called Hockey East.  Secondly, the Big Ten Hockey Conference was inevitable.  The conference itself goes back to near the beginning of college sports.    Once they had the needed number of schools fielding hockey they were always going to bond together to go forth under the Big Ten banner.  When it comes to conference history there’s the Ivy, Big Ten, and everyone else.  While I had no problem with the status quo (save for Huntsville not having a place at the table),  I still think the BTHC could potentially lead to an expanded college hockey footprint as schools like Illinois, Indiana, or others look to field teams.  But sadly this “Super Conference” will only hurt college hockey in general by separating the remaining western teams into haves and have-nots.  The current makeup of the WCHA and CCHA, led by teams like North Dakota, Duluth, Colorado College, Denver on one side and Notre Dame, Miami, and Western Michigan on the other can survive as is.  If those teams leave, the remaining programs will likely not all be able to make it work.  College hockey needs more schools, not less.  I hope these schools exploring this option consider this fact.

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