Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Anchorage

(Ed. note: I wrote about half of this during the season and never finished it, so I figured I'd finish it now.)

Long-time journalist Virg Foss wrote a column in the Grand Forks Herald(on March 18th) and as usual, for better or worse, it got people talking. Among his "random thoughts" was this gem:
Set them adrift: I know it’s not a nice thought, but I can’t be the only one who wishes there was a way to kick Alaska-Anchorage out of the WCHA and replace the Seawolves with Bemidji State.
Sadly, he's probably not. Back on February 27th, WCCO's Dark Star interviewed Minnesota assistant coach John Hill, in a painfully awkward interview where the interviewer didn't realize the interviewee had once coached at UAA. One of the questions posed to Hill was about some people thinking UAA shouldn't be in the WCHA. Hill's answer was basically, "I could see why some people think that." Though he added at the end, "I hope they never do[get kicked out of the WCHA]".

The fact that this was brought up by two of the oldest men on the planet probably says something. I'm sure if Sid Hartman can regain his grip on coherence, he'll join in the cause too. But it's out there, so I may as well give my opinion.

I think the idea of replacing UAA with Bemidji is one of the dumbest things I've heard all month. And last week, I heard Metallica's cover of "Turn the Page" on the radio, so that's really saying something. Probably the biggest reason for allowing Bemidji into the WCHA is that if the WCHA doesn't, Bemidji would likely fold their program, and fewer programs is bad for college hockey. Letting in Bemidji and kicking out Anchorage doesn't solve that problem, it just transfers it a few thousand miles west. Without a conference to play in, I doubt UAA could survive as an independent. Other than the extremely provincial argument that Bemidji would likely stock their roster with more Minnesotan-born players, and slightly reduced travel costs, I don't see what that switch would accomplish.

Anchorage doesn't seem like a great fit for the WCHA. They're behind a good majority of the league in terms of hockey facilities(though a new building is becoming more and more realistic). They're forced to recruit out of a different, shallower pool of talent in western Canada, as opposed to the rest of the league, which relies on Minnesota/USHL/the top players from elsewhere. Their fans understandably don't travel well, meaning they don't do a lot for the rest of the league economically. They've finished in last place three years in a row, and haven't had a winning record since joining the WCHA. So it's far from a perfect fit, but it's the best option available. In an ideal world, they'd be better of sharing a conference with Fairbanks, maybe some Canadians schools like the University of British Columbia, and some schools in Washington state. But that's not an option, and it won't be for a long, long time.

Maybe it would be easier for some of those old-timers to go back to the days when there were only 5 teams in college, but for the sport of college hockey, having more teams is generally a good thing. Having a team that struggles in the WCHA is better than not having one at all.


Anonymous said...

A new rink in Anchorage Alaska is so far off it will take 10 years to see the fruits of that effort if at all. This program is at a crossroad situation with last place WCHA finishes and dwindling attendance in the building.

Anonymous said...

I don't see what the big deal with virg's comments, I was told that there are a lot of people in the WCHA that feel this way so it isn't a stretch...

Matt said...

Don't the CCHA and ECAC have more than 10 teams? Why not add Bemidji State to the WCHA and keep Anchorage as well? What about the other CHA teams? Maybe both Alaska teams should join the CHA.

Kris said...

Let's not forget that Hill graduated from UAA and was a captain of the team. Whoever the interviewer was is an idiot. Know something about college hockey, and I know UAA isn't exactly vital to college hockey. Let's not forget that with new facilities and a state that cares about its largest educational institution UAA could grab some very good players. Look at the kids from Alaska or just Anchorage that are playing or have played elsewhere. Matt Carle, Joey Crabb to name a few. There are three good recruits that are right now heading to other WCHA schools in the near future. Two of them to Denver and one to Mankato. If we could keep Alaskan talent in Alaska and add quality talent from Western Canada or maybe even some Midwest boys it would be a very competitive program. I think that it will actually become that in our lifetime. Alaska is going to change and the way it treats its largest University is going to have to change. The fact is right now that the political climate is still in favor of pushing UAF as the "flagship" program that in all sports won like 2 events against UAA last year. The facts add up to UAA being the program and soon the education structure will represent that. Right now dinosaurs in Juneau and around the state have not caught onto the fact the UAA campus is an integral part to the welfare of this state, but they will have to eventually.

Donald Dunlop said...

Here's an email exchange I had with the old boy
Dear Virg,
As someone of obviously advanced years I'd have
expected a somewhat more sophisticated view than for you to call for UAA's removal from the WCHA.

UAA as a member of the WCHA guarantees extra gates at the Ralph that your program would not otherwise have.

You see; about 20 years ago the NCAA recognized the geographic disadvantage that Alaska and Hawaii share in competing in NCAA sports. So they adopted the "Alaska/Hawaii exemption rule" that gives an exemption against the schedule limit to each and every competitor that plays a contest in either state. What does that mean for your hostile and abusively named hockey program?

It means the ability to schedule additional home games in your 10,000 seat arena. That's a big gate for UND. Do you know what gate means? It means more money. I'd have to estimate on the order of $100,000 dollars a year.

Yet you want to trade that income for a bus ride to a D3 rink? Did you call for CC's exclusion from the
WCHA when they finished last 3 times in a row? Your obvious desire to see your "cabin homies" included in the WCHA has completely and entirely clouded whatever working gray-matter you have remaining.

Make a point of retracting that stupidity eh? I hope
that you do. If you are unable to do so perhaps you
can at least reply to me with your reasoning as to why UAA should be shown the WCHA door.
Donald Dunlop

Then Virg responded:
Would have been nice to read your comments without personal attacks which do nothing for your comments.
I am well aware of the Alaska/Hawaii allowance by the NCAA, but it's not like UND plays at Anchorage every season, either. The extra games permitted in years schools do travel to Alaska do help the budgets of schools that do that, if they can book the extra home games.
On the other hand, Anchorage begged out of paying the travel expenses of teams coming there, as per the original pledge of the school when seeking league membership.
My biggest argument against Anchorage as a WCHA member has to do with geographical distance from the majority of the league. In that sense, Bemidji State is a much better fit for everyone.
I am a believer in established schools helping others; Bemidji State's program may die without WCHA membership, but perhaps Anchorage's would as well. So that's a bit of a quandary.
Don't know where that "Bemidji homies'' dig comes from. I've lived in GF for 30 years, and still do. I own a lake cabin near Bemidji, that's all.
Keep supporting college hockey. It's the world's best sport, in my view.
Regards, virg

And my last unanswered response:
Dear Virg,
UAA paid the entire travel costs for 8 other
conference members for more than a decade before the league AD's voted democratically to phase it out
several (4 or 5?) years ago (not "begged out" as you
said). I do believe some portion was still paid for
by UAA this year. UAA included non-scheduled WCHA members in it's yearly tournament on a rotating basis as well, in order to maximize their access to that exemption. A relatively conservative estimate would put that at a savings to each school of around 15,000 dollars per. UAA absolutely and completely has paid its dues to the conference in real terms of right around a million dollars in expenses.

So they've paid a million dollars and perhaps made the league members somewhere near a million dollars and YOU wish they could be shown the door?

UAA has both paid for and earned their standing. They certainly don't deserve some formerly respected college hockey columnist in one of the best markets in D1 to suggest they ought to be dumped.

No doubt you'll say differently, but I suspect it
wouldn't occur to you to call for UAA's ouster if
they had just won their third league championship in a row. Your referencing them as "cellar-dwelling" would be my reason for that suspicion. How exactly where UAA finishes matters to another conference member (in terms of the status of their membership is concerned) is a complete mystery to me. So I wrote you in order to challenge you to in some way retract that "wish".

Having been at the same precipice that now faces
Bemidji State gives me empathy for their situation.
But they do have an opportunity to continue through the new scheduling arrangement and if they perform well enough in their schedule they can advance to the NCAA's just like any other team. It won't be as easy as relying on the autobid from their admittedly weak conference and I imagine they'll be viable as a WCHA member at some point (like when Minnesota and Wisconsin bolt for a BTHC) but it unfortunately isn't possible right now.

Your "wish" was ill-advised and in poor form and I
wasn't prepared to let it go unchallenged.
Donald Dunlop

Anonymous said...

The reality is Virg made a comment that has benn bantered about for a couple of years in seeing Alaska Anchorage removed from the WCHA. Having Bemidji get funding for a building just publicized it. UAA has finished last three years running and attendence is awful. When member schools travel up to Anchorage lomg distances and see an empty building and then look at the other possibilities it gets people talking about it.

Donald Dunlop said...

The reality is the only people "talking" about it are ignorant fans.

The power in the WCHA rest's solely in the hands of the A.D.'s under guidance of the member schools. There is ZERO negative effect from UAA's attendance and/or win/loss record for the other member schools.

I'll challenge anyone commenting here to name a single negative effect that Sullivan Arena attendance has on the league members. Or perhaps you can think of some negative effect on member institutions from UAA finishing last? You say you can't really think of any? That'd be because there aren't any.

Now ... for those of you think travel is an issue. Let's say you could dump UAA in favor of Bemidji without the rest of the world thinking you've got zero integrity for backing out on an agreement that has benefitted you greatly in financial terms. Do you think travel to Bemidji is any easier? Lets see ...

For UND the travel benefit is clear. Less than a couple hours on a bus. How about DU? Right now DU players hop on a plane and arrive in Anchorage after 6 or 7 hours travel depending on their connections. To go to Bemidji they've got a 2 hour flight to Minneapolis and then better than a 2 hour bus trip to Bemidji. About the same for CC to either location + their commute to Denver. How about Michigan Tech? Wisconsin? Duluth? St. Cloud?

You replace air travel (the safest mode of transportation available) for bus trips on 2 lane roads in the middle of a Minnesota winter? Yeah ... that's genius. You never hear of Buses going off the road in bad weather.

Arguing for UAA expulsion from the league is the height of ignorance and seems to mostly come from provincially motivated rubes. There are ZERO rational reasons for arguing for Bemidji's inclusion based on UAA exclusion.

But rationality is a concept that provincial rubes just don't grasp.

Anonymous said...

Donald Dunlop....I think your points are very valid and you've clearly done your research. However, if you acted like a jackass in an e-mail to me as much as you did to Virg, I wouldn't respond either. Your points are very good, but learn how to communicate with people.

Big Anonymous HG said...

I am somewhat uninformed technically and statistically when it comes to this subject. However, UAA cannot, and should not play in the same conference as UAF, unless there was a west coast hockey league, which there isn't and something that's not even close to forming. The reason it can't be supported is because that's way too much in terms of travel expenses for opposing teams to likely have to make 2 trips to Alaska each season instead of one.

There is only one thing that makes Bemidji State a viable option in the WCHA is location. Everything else about that school is so underwhelming in terms of talent, size, etc. If they were in the WCHA, they still wouldn't be able to keep up talent-wise, even with being able to garner a few more "decent" recruits. What really needs to take place is a minor reshuffling of conferences which would make a new conference to replace the CHA that has more teams. College Hockey America only gives people Bitter Beer Face when they hear it, so a new conference name would have to be formed to give a sense of a new identity. Teams currently in bigger conferences that got shuffled to the new conference would likely have problems with the idea, but, it certainly would be the easiest way not to lose any teams nationally.

Anonymous said...

Donald Dunlop: I too wonder why you feel you must attack the integrity and inteligence of anyone who has an opinion the differs from your own. It appears to me that you feel you must brow beat people into converting to your beliefs and ideology. I am a casual fan and I don't know the history of the WCHA relationship with Anchorage but I do know that travel to Bemidji is far more favourable that traveling to Alaska. The time zone issue, which wasn't mentioned, is just one obvious negative. All you have to do is talk to league members and players to realize that travel to Alaska is a negative. I have no comment or argument on the financial aspect of this situation but I can tell you as a player you much rather play in front of good crowds instead of emply buildings. The fact that most quality players from Alaska have chosen to play elsewhere is also a simple indicator that Alaska is not a favourable place to play and it's not realistic to think that this will change anytime soon. Difficult decisions are made all the time in business, and make no mistake college hockey is all about business. You can bet your bottom dollar that all parties will not be pleased regardless of the final decision. I thought that Virg responded to your malicious rants in a very professional manner. He may or may not be correct but please have the decency to treat people with the same respect you would like to be treated with. I would urge you to have the courage to recant you negative personal comments and stick to expresing your opinions, whether they be right or wrong, in a more professional manner.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post that states that everyone has an opinion on the UAA situation in the WCHA. The reality is that there are better situations for the WCHA than UAA. Bemidji, Nebraka Omaha are two that come to mind at this point. Competitiveness, Geography, atmosphere in the building, Time zone change are just the cusp of the issues that i am sure are getting evaluated by the top brass of the league. Only time will tell. Alaska could help themselves with filling the building for home games and finishing out of the cellar. ( 3 times in a row )

Anonymous said...

I know on, they have discussed reshuffling all of college hockey so it makes more geographical sense and fair to all. Has this blog done the same? Just curious. Maybe doing a total overhaul is what's needed across the whole college hockey nation. Maybe CC, UAA, UA-Fairbanks could be a conference?

Donald Dunlop said...

I don't attack the integrity or intelligence of anyone that has a different opinion.

I attack the integrity or intelligence of people that lack integrity or intelligence.

Lets do a quick comparison since attendance seems to be on everyone's mind.
UAA's attendance this year was 3674/game for 59.2% of rink capacity
Bemidji's was 2358/game for 52.7% of rink capacity.

UAA's attendance ranked 20th in the nation. Bemidji's was 49th. UAA's was higher than Miami, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, Clarkson, Notre Dame and some former national champions.

Bemidji's new rink is projected to hold how many people? 4,000? UAA is planning for a new rink. It's current projected seats are 7,500.

I'm not sure but I think 3600 people make more noise than 2300.

Ahh ... the time difference. It's a 2 hour change for DU and CC; a 3 hour change for everyone else. I hope I'm not mistaken there.

There certainly is an issue when instead of playing a game at 7pm as your body is used to you have to play at 10pm. Naps help. Unlike travel to Denver and Colorado Springs where you have to adapt to altitude. So which is better? Trying to adapt to altitude or a 3 hour time change? One takes a couple of extra days and the other takes a nap.

Using the Alaska based player's tendency to go elsewhere is a valid example however it is somewhat moderated when you factor in that elite players from anywhere (including Minnesota) want to go play for elite programs. That's how Minny kids end up at UND, BC, BU, DU, CC et al. That being the case I'd agree that in Alaska's case it is a problem. However, it's a problem for UAA. It isn't a problem for the 9 other teams in the league.

Stability in coaching has unfortunately been the primary cause in my opinion. Dean Talafous ignored local talent in favor of UofM, St. Cloud and UMD rejects. John Hill mended those fences in the community but stabbed everyone in the back with his unexpected decision to leave. Shyiak just completed his third year but is yet to secure a committment from an elite Alaskan. Finishing 10th in 3 str8 years does that.

Lastly ... as to my communications style (or "malicious rants" as you characterize them); I could care less how others judge them. I care that folks who care about UAA know that I'm here and I've got the program's back covered. More than a few UAA supporters don't appreciate my "style". Oh well. I'm not a diplomat (but I assure you I could be and am more than "professional" when it is appropriate). I'm a hockey fan. Hockey is a aggressive hard hitting fast paced game. I'm bombastic and/or offensive with (and on) purpose.

Kris said...

As for keeping Alaskan talent in Alaska, in regards to UAA, we did pick up Bryce Christiansen. I am not sure how much weight to put on a almost 21 year old who was brought up to replace a serious eye injury to the number 2 goalie. He would have been losing eligibility if he stayed in B.C. The fact is that at least at one point there was talk of him going to a major school. I do believe that Maine was looking that direction as Minny might have been before they picked up Kangas, at least those are the rumors that I remember hearing. He was also being scouted for the NHL draft. I think that both he and McCabe have good potential and will push the program in the right direction. The question is will they be pushed to reach potential and will Dave and company be able to recruit talent to help them out. We have a start but only a start. We need some top end talent coming up here in order to compete.

444 said...

Ahh ... the time difference. It's a 2 hour change for DU and CC; a 3 hour change for everyone else. I hope I'm not mistaken there.

I believe Michigan Tech is in the Eastern Time zone which would be 4 hour change. Yuck! Otherwise I agree with your opinion.

Anonymous said...

What Virg says in his response back to the UAA poster in his first sentence shows an interesting contrast in the character of these two.

It is also interesting to note the UAA posters responses later on like:

"The reality is the only people "talking" about it are ignorant fans."

"I don't attack the integrity or intelligence of anyone that has a different opinion."

"I attack the integrity or intelligence of people that lack integrity or intelligence."

Deejer said...

Here are the distances:

Bemidji to......
Grand Forks (UND): 114 miles
Duluth (UMD): 150 miles
St. Cloud (SCSU): 155 miles
Minneapolis (UM): 223 miles
Mankato (MSU-M): 295 miles
Houghton (Tech): 363 miles
Madison (UW): 485 miles

So make your own conclusions regarding travel. Looks like it would benefit SCSU, UND, and UMD (and maybe UM) to travel to Bemidji rather than fly to UAA.

Tech, Mankato, and Madison would have long bus rides.

I'm not saying UAA should be kicked out for Bemidji (a real long-shot no matter what you believe), but providing real data to base travel analysis on regarding the two teams.

IMO there are 2 things that are pushing some people to favor adding Bemidji and booting UAA:

1. Bemidji just received funding to build a new convention center, which includes a brand new arena to house the BSU Beavers.

2. UAA has finished in last place the previous three years, and people always want to kick out the cellar dwellars.

My opinion is that UAA will stay in the conference and Bemidji will play the next few years on their WCHA-enhanced schedule (WCHA team rotation every year). After that, who knows....

Anonymous said...

Wow I'm surprised Virg took the time to respond to a jackass like Donald. Seriously I like the Seawolves program but Donald is an @$$hole and I hate having to glance by his posts whenever he feels compelled to spill his UAA crap all over the blogosphere whenever someone talks remotely negative about his beloved UAA.

Do I think Bemidji State should get membership into the league? Yes. Should UAA be kicked to curb as result? No.

Jeff said...

I think there are enough minnesota schools in the wcha. I remember earlier this season after interviewing some players following a cc-uaa game. CC players were talking about how neat it was to tour the city of Anchorage, and how the trip was a nice change compared to traveling to other schools.

Anonymous said...

Add Bemidji State and figure out a way to nab Air Force from Atlantic Hockey... play with 12 teams. problem solved.

Dan Myers said...

Could you go with Bemidji State and Air Force and split the conference into two divisions like East and West ala college football.

In the west: UAA, CC, DENVER, AFA, UND, BSU.

In the east: MIN, UMD, WIS, SCSU, MTU, MSU.

You play four games a year against teams in your division, two against teams in the other division, rotating home series every year.

The top two teams from each division and one wildcard (the best remaining team from either division) go to St. Paul and the Final Five. Give the western teams a bit more of the FF kitty to help with travel expenses. That would mean 32 conference games and room for about two or three nonconference series.

I think it'd be fun... more conference games, more excitement... something new and unique.

Anonymous said...

There are so many logistical impossibilities to make any league involving Canadian Universities (i.e., U of British Columbia). Many of the top programs in the CIS are primarily graduated WHL/OHL/QMJHL players, ineligible to compete in the NCAA. The league is very underrated and would have no interest in expanding into the US due to travel costs and many other logistics involving player eligibility.

Donald Dunlop said...

32 conference games is just too many. The schedule limit for regular season games mandated by the NCAA is 34. A 32 game conference schedule would greatly limit the number of possible out of conference comparisons and that 12 team league would end up screwed in the NCAA's. It wouldn't be a bad idea if you can manage to keep the schedule to 28 games.

But I have another suggestion. UND resigns from the WCHA and joins the CHA. That completely saves the CHA from folding. It doesn't hurt UND in the least. In fact the positives far outweigh the negatives. The Ralph would be the premier rink in that league and could host the CHAFF every year meaning 4 sold out dates. The WCHA scheduling arrangement with Bemidji would obviously be extended to UND. Minnesota, St. Cloud and Mankato would be more than interested in playing them at least twice in order to maintain their existing rivalry. DU would certainly be interested as well with their growing rivalry and the CC/UND series have been becoming more intense over the last few years as well. UND wouldn't ever have to worry about making the NCAA's and continuing their patented late season surges. They'd be dominant all year.

It'd be a minor benefit to the WCHA fan as they'd no longer have to listen to the incessant whining from Grand Forks.

UND to the CHA in 2010!

And oh yeah ... does anyone else see the stupidity of typing @$$hole and thinking that somehow masks the meaning? Just type out asshole next time you weeny. Anyone reading still pronounces it the same ya know? What is the point? Afraid of words?

Anonymous said...

Dear Donald: I'm sure that the UAA fans that you like to say you support would also think that you're a bully and an ass. Don't pretend to speak for the entire UAA fan base. I have spoken to several that don't like you and don't agree with your bombastic ways. I guess your response to them would be "go screw yourself". There are far more effective and inteligent ways to support your team and get your point across than be acting like a petulent little jerk.

By the sounds of most of the coments here it appears that everyone but you has an ability to get their message across without crossing the line of civility. Most of the posteres actually show support for Alaska but don't agree with your methods. Maybe there is a lesson in there somewhere.

Hockey is tough hard hitting sport that is played on the ice. It's not played on these posts by prima donnas such as yourself. Get real, take a reality pill and try to be constructive instead of disruptive. You might actually acomplish something. Ta Ta

Anonymous said...

SERIOUSLY FOLKS, we don't want to get rid of the UAA doormat, they are good for 6-8 points for your team every season. I will predict they finish 10th again next season.

I am just waiting for the next stupid thing that donald is going to say.

Anonymous said...

Since I don't frequent this blog I didn't know whether or not there was a profanity filter or not(whether there is even such feature for blogs hosted by blogspot?). I'm glad you were able to understand and deduce what @$$ meant.

And to make you feel all jolly and happy: Your an asshole ;)

Wouldn't it be more beneficial for UAA to the CHA though? I mean it'd definitely be a morale booster for the program to get may I be bold and say it...4-6 wins in a season!!

In seriousness, UAA has proved to be a competitive team in the WCHA despite being basement dwellers. They should remain.

Donald Dunlop said...

Anon @ 615:
I sure would like to see you point out my lack of civility here. I busted Virg's chops ... I pointed out that provincial rubes are the ones calling for UAA's ouster ... other than that I see plenty of civility in my comments. On the other hand ... a number of what you'd call less than civil comments have been directed at me ... i.e... asshole, stupid (2 times), and then bully and ass by you when you're moaning about me not being civil? LOL. Pot meet kettle.

As to your point about the UAA fanbase. I made that point already. I don't claim to speak for the UAA fanbase and ANY UAA fan that reads me regularly is well aware of that. I speak for me. I do so in a manner that is natural for me (and I already used the descriptor "bombastic"). The thing is that I'm an admitted asshole. Go to my blog and use the search function with the word "asshole". You'll find I've self-referentially used it multiple times.

Lengthen your skirt a bit Nancy. The real issue is that people don't like to get PWND when they type something on the internet and in this little corner of the internet world they often do get PWND by me. This interchange being a good example.

Anonymous said...

Donald just because you said you pounded Virg doesn't mean you actually did. You're not worthy of sniffing Virg's underwear. I like how the minute your precious cellar dwellar is attacked you're in complete melt down mode. I wonder if Chris did this to fish you out of the snow?

Anonymous said...

Donny Boy...I hope you are not thinking it's only UND fans busting your balls....Us out here in Badger land think you're a dumbass too.....

Anonymous said...

As far as UAA footing the bill for other teams travel to Alaska, it has not been phased out yet. UAA paid for 20 tickets when Minnesota came up here, and most WCHA schools are fighting the phase out.

UAA is still footing most of the bill.

Donald Dunlop said...

LOL. Virg Foss is a running JOKE in the college hockey world. He's a boob that is slowly reverting to illiteracy. LOL. Anyhow ... I didn't say I pounded him. I said I "busted his chops".

And I love your interpretation of "complete melt down mode". If you honestly think what you've read here is some indication of a melt down then ... deary you apparently live in an excessively repressed sheltered world.

I know it's a challenge somehow to grasp for some brush with which to paint me negatively ... it's too bad you don't understand that anyone reading this crap is perfectly capable of interpreting what's been written without your inaccurate characterizations.

Call me as many weak names as you'd like. LOL. None of that sort of petty hatred fazes me in any way. On the contrary it is ironically funny since when I actually do venture into insult, the result is leap years ahead of that sort of insipidly boorish attempt.

Anonymous said...

donald, just because you say Foss is a running joke in college hockey doesn't make it so. Virg is one of the more respected sports writers around college hockey.

As far as I see it; virg foss rolled you up and smoked you like a cheap dutch master cigar. Basically making you look like a petty spiteful moron most of us think you are.

I would tend to say that you might want to chill a bit, UAA isn't nothing more than a perineal door mat and will never be anything but, I can't wait to see your pre-season prediction where you say that UAA is going to finish 5th in the league again. Like it will ever happen.

Anonymous said...

I would say the only ignorant person would be the one that doesn't understand the importance of rivalries. Adding new regional rivalries could only benefit those clubs, which there are plenty. As far as I can see, nobody considers Anchorage a rivalry. It was very short-sighted of the powers that be in the WCHA to add a team with such geographic challenges.

Anonymous said...

anon 8:57 you bring up a really Beaver backer:
good point, UAA really doesn't have a rivalry because they have been very good. I think BSU would probably finish above UAA in the standings as well. The BSU coach Tom Serratore is a great coach and a pretty good recruiter and you give him a new arena and membership in the WCHA he woudl do just a good as many of the other teams in the WCHA.

millsy03 said...

Why would you have to kick one team out to add on, or add two teams? Yes, it would make a nice even number of teams, but an 11 team league can work. With each team getting two or three bye weeks during the season and each team having three (or four) non-conference series, you don't have to have every team playing in conference every weekend. You could have any even number of teams in league play and the remaining teams in some sort of combination of non-conference games and byes.

And yes, I am a Beaver Hockey fan. But I also realize that the CHA (with an autobid) is the best spot for BSU to compete for an NCAA bid year in and year out. I realize that playing in the WCHA would probably limit BSU to a NCAA berth once every eight to ten years. But I also realize that travel costs are what is killing teams in the CHA. Having to travel to Huntsville (1232 miles), Niagara (Lewiston, NY, 1180 miles), and Robert Morris (Moon Twp., PA, 1087 miles) eats up the funds pretty fast. BSU has been lucky enough to have teams like Duluth, Mankato and North Dakota play them in Bemidji on a regular basis, but the other three schools have not, which puts them on thin ice also. This is a college hockey wide problem, not just a CHA problem.