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Name of UMD's new hockey league announced

A new Division I men's hockey conference, officially announced Saturday, officially got a name Wednesday at a joint press conference with six new member schools that will open play in 2013-14.

A new Division I men's hockey conference, officially announced Saturday, officially got a name Wednesday at a joint press conference with six new member schools that will open play in 2013-14.

Five members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association -- Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota, Denver, Colorado College and Nebraska-Omaha -- will join Miami University of Oxford, Ohio, of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

The announcement was made at Penrose House hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo. Athletic directors and coaches of the six schools attended the press conference.

UMD athletic director Bob Nielson said the Bulldogs had been in discussions about a new league "for months" but said it was just the last two months that the pace quickened. He said it was a "collaborative" effort and didn't specify if there was any school or individual making invitations to join the new league.

Staying the on same recruiting level as the new Big Ten Conference hockey league was of consideration in forming the the NCHC, said Sandelin.

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"Hopefully this will open more doors for us and open talent pools that we weren't part of," said Sandelin.

From the press conference: league will be a non-profit organization, no commissioner yet, no home base yet, no official media outlet (TV) yet. No Notre Dame yet. Other schools may be courted to join or may apply.

Helping direct the formation of the league are two public relations-sports entertainment firms: the Goldwater Group of Paradise Valley, Ariz., and Stafford Sports of Medford, N.J.

It is still likely that Notre Dame of South Bend, Ind., also of the CCHA, will join the conference at a later date.

The 12-team WCHA will continue play for two more seasons.

Minnesota and Wisconsin had announced in March that they would leave the WCHA for the newly-formed Big Ten Conference hockey league, also starting in 2013-14.

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