College hockey notes: It's official, St. Cloud State will leave WCHA in 2 yearsBruce McLeod was disappointed, while Bob Motzko and Andy Murray beamed with excitement Thursday as St. Cloud State and Western Michigan University of Kalamazoo, Mich., officially accepted invitations to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference for the league’s inaugural season in 2013-14.
By: Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune
Bruce McLeod was disappointed, while Bob Motzko and Andy Murray beamed with excitement Thursday as St. Cloud State and Western Michigan University of Kalamazoo, Mich., officially accepted invitations to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference for the league’s inaugural season in 2013-14.
For the next two seasons, St. Cloud State will continue play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and Western Michigan in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
The eight-team NCHC will have six WCHA members, including Minnesota Duluth.
WCHA commissioner McLeod said in a release:
“We are all disappointed by this latest announcement. We also want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that the WCHA will persevere, soldier on and continue to do things as we always have — in a first-class manner.”
In St. Cloud, Minn., the Huskies held a news conference which featured coach Motzko and school President Earl Potter. Motzko, in a statement, said:
“St. Cloud State was given the opportunity 22 years ago to join the WCHA. We are forever grateful for this opportunity. We are very excited for this (next) challenge and look forward to a new chapter in the history of St. Cloud State hockey.”
In Kalamazoo, first-year Western Michigan coach Murray, a former NHL head coach, echoed Motzko’s sentiments in talking to the Kalamazoo Gazette:
“There’s no question this is going to be an outstanding conference. The games we’re going to play every single night are going to be fast-paced, physical and exciting for all hockey fans.”
A Thursday report in the Bowling Green (Ohio)
Sentinel-Tribune said Bowling Green State of the CCHA has been given a two-week extension to Oct. 7 to consider a WCHA membership invitation. The deadline was to be today. The Sentinel is also reporting that four Atlantic Hockey schools may be interested in joining the WCHA — Canisius, Mercyhurst, Niagara and Robert Morris.
Also starting in 2013-14 is the six-team Big Ten Conference men’s league. The WCHA and CCHA will merge under the WCHA banner for an expected nine-team league. Notre Dame of the CCHA is still considering an NCHC membership invitation.
UMD student tickets a hot item
UMD sold out its allotment of 800 student tickets for 2011-12 men’s home hockey games Wednesday. Students began lining up at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the sports information office, and the tickets were sold in less than six hours when put on sale at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Ticket packages for 19 home games were $140.
Public single game tickets for men’s games go on sale Monday in person at UMD and Amsoil Arena only. On Tuesday, tickets also will be available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or (800) 745-3000.
UMD winger Justin Fontaine, a free-agent signee with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, was among five players assigned Wednesday to the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Houston. The AHL team opens training camp Monday. Fontaine, 23, was UMD’s second-
leading scorer last season with 22 goals and 36 assists for
58 points in 42 games.
After the Carolina Hurricanes made six roster cuts Thursday, former UMD defenseman Justin Faulk, 19, remained with the NHL team.
In NHL exhibition games Wednesday, former UMD forward Andrew Carroll had a goal for Washington in a 4-3 overtime loss at Columbus, and former UMD defenseman Matt Niskanen had a goal for Pittsburgh in a 3-2 home win over Detroit.
College Hockey News Picks Miami No. 1
Miami University of Oxford, Ohio, was ranked No. 1 by the College Hockey News in a 2011-12 Division I men’s preseason poll released Thursday. Boston University was No. 2 followed by Notre Dame No. 3, Colorado College No. 4 and Boston College No. 5. Defending NCAA champion UMD was not in the Top 10.