The more I read this article, “Second Thought”, the more I take issue with it. I am sure fans of the Big Ten or the NCHC might as well.
One should not, however, mistake the history of specific hockey clubs — say, what Minnesota brings to the Big Ten, or Denver to the NCHC — with the history of the conferences themselves. The Big Ten and NCHC necessarily have no history because until about three months ago, there had never been a single game played under their respective banners. This much is irrefutable.
So, the Big Ten Hockey Conference and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference have no hockey history with their new conferences?
Here’s why this article is misses the mark. First, Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota and Saint Cloud State were all in the same conference, before they broke off and formed the NCHC. They formed a new league with familiar members, left a few behind and grabbed a few new ones. That’s all. In my opinion, the NCHC just changed logos.
There was Big Ten Hockey before there was a Big Ten Hockey Conference
While there might not have been a Big Ten Hockey Conference, Big Ten teams Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Michigan State have been playing each other since the 1920’s.
Until 2010, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin played each other in the College Hockey Showcase. Obviously, with the formation of the Big Ten Hockey Conference, they no longer need the College Hockey Showcase and mothballed it after 18 seasons.
NCHC = entitlement?
This is the sentence with which I take issue. Maybe this is what it appears like from the outside looking in.
This seems not to have stopped the NCHC from trying to make itself more impressive, which is apparently the kind of thing we should have come to expect from a league built on entitlement more than anything else.
To make the comment that the NCHC was based on entitlement is short-sighted. If you’ve followed the NCHC for more than a minute, you will know that there was a serious rift between some of the member schools in the WCHA and the WCHA commissioner. Some of schools in question, didn’t like the way the league was run, on or off the ice, and they decided to split ways with the WCHA. I don’t think it’s an attitude of entitlement for these schools to want a better run league. I think it was a smart business decision.
Moving forward, the teams in the NCHC are better off where they are today. That being said, the NCHC is always going to have its detractors, no matter what the NCHC does. Some are going to pick apart the NCHC’s every move. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. There’s a lot of hurt feelings because of the way this re-alignment happened. The wounds are still fresh.
In conclusion, if anything, re-alignment allowed a team (UAH) to find a conference and this will probably allow for future college hockey expansion. I am not convinced that we’re done moving teams around, just yet. Lastly, why is it that NCHC hockey fans are expected to feel guilt or shame when discussing their conference? These re-alignment decisions were made by folks that are paid a lot more than you and me.
Have a Happy New Year! May 2014 be better… Follow Eric on Twitter @goon48.
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.