It’s really no mystery; the National Collegiate Hockey Conference has made a few stumbles coming out of the starting blocks during its two-year formation period.
In the latter part of 2011, the NCHC decided to expand from the original six teams to eight teams. This expansion also had its share of theater as well.
First in July of 2011, Saint Cloud State University’s president Earl H. Potter III told the St. Cloud Times that the school was expecting to be part of the talks in forming the NCHC. “But as we looked at it [NCHC] and we [SCSU] intended to say no.”
Of course, that statement was proven to be false and later when we learned through a FOIA request filed by the Saint Cloud Times that SCSU President Potter and other key SCSU Husky hockey people were using back channels to sell itself to the NCHC officials, with the hope of getting an invitation to join the NCHC. Of course, these revelations rubbed many NCHC fans the wrong way.
Eventually, in September of 2011 Saint Cloud State University and Western Michigan would end up getting invitations to join the NCHC. During this same time, the NCHC had also extended an invitation to Notre Dame. However, the NCHC decided that they wouldn’t allow Notre Dame to have its own television deal with NBCSN. Notre Dame went to Hockey East instead and the eight-team league would have its membership for the inaugural 2013-14 season.
Also, the league has also had two commissioners, and one of the former coaches who was a big factor in the league’s formation was fired last season. All of this happened before the NCHC ever played a game on the ice.
Finally, after two years in the making a few missteps off of the ice, the NCHC will kick off its inaugural season on October 18, 2013, when the University of North Dakota invades Steve Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio to play the Miami University RedHawks. Needless to say, this is also the game that will also kick off the NCHC’s much discussed CBSSN national television schedule.
Lastly, moving forward, none of these details will really matter once the first season is in the books, but the NCHC haters and distracters did have something to talk about in the two years leading up to this game.
Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers the University of North Dakota Hockey and Division I college hockey. Eric is the Contributing Editor for Inside Hockey.