Saturday, January 17, 2009

UNO Isn't Moving

Nebraska-Omaha head coach Mike Kemp spoke Alaska's hockey luncheon this afternoon, and had some interesting things to say about some future conference realignment.

Incidentally, the Mavericks lost 2-0 to Alaska tonight, and had to wear Fairbanks Ice Dogs jerseys, because United Airways lost their jerseys while rerouting the Mavericks a couple times turning their trip to Fairbanks into a 24-hour journey.

Anyway, Kemp said that Nebraska-Omaha had been approached by the WCHA about the possibility of applying to join the conference, but made it pretty clear that UNO had no interest in switching conferences.

One of the big reasons why is that even though the WCHA may have more traditional hockey powers, Nebraska is football territory and names like Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State are going to resonate more with local fans than a school like Denver or North Dakota. Even MAC schools like Western Michigan, Miami, and Bowling Green carry more cachet than some of the D-II football schools in Minnesota.

Kemp did mention the advantage of being able to bus to most games in the WCHA--and I'm sure avoiding the air looked especially tempting after the fiasco getting up to Fairbanks--but also said that the CCHA has been good to UNO, and they have no interest in moving.

So UNO is out in terms of a 12th WCHA team, but Kemp did mention, however, that Northern Michigan has been approached by the WCHA about potentially joining the conference as well. Would they be interested? I'm not sure.

Still, it probably has to be considered a good sign for Bemidji State that the WCHA is at least looking to add a 12th team. Twelve teams would help out with scheduling a little bit, because it would allow the league to use a "cluster" format like the CCHA has the past couple of years. Scheduling with 11 teams would still be workable though. In any case, things this summer could be very interesting as some major changes could be coming.


Wade said...

If the WCHA is looking to poach a team, I think Air Force makes a ton of sense. I realize they aren't a traditional power, but the program has been on the upswing for the past several years. And the geography would be perfect, giving CC & DU another neighborhood playmate. Not to mention that AFA is the only western outpost in Atlantic Hockey, so they probably wouldn't require a whole lot of arm-twisting to leave that travel nightmare.

Anonymous said...

UAF needs to leave the CCHA the nightmares for travel they cause for all the teams is ridiculous. UNO loses their jerseys and much of Western's team got stuck in Alaska for christmas.

Anonymous said...

How much does Air Force seat? I believe they might have to significantly upgrade their facilities in order to apply for membership. Wasn't that the stipulation for Bemidji a couple years ago?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure a name like Mankato State wouldn't resonate much better either. LOL

Anonymous said...

"I believe they might have to significantly upgrade their facilities in order to apply for membership. Wasn't that the stipulation for Bemidji a couple years ago?"

Correct, all WCHA arenas have to hold at least 4,000. Air Force only seats 2,750. Bemidji will be building a new 20 million dollar arena because of this rule that I believe will seat around 4500. Air Force cannot due anything about this since they play in a huge multi-sport complex. The hockey rink, basketball court, and I think the indoor football facility all under the same roof. If they took out the 4,000k rule I would be extremely pissed if I was Bemidji. A lot of time,effort, and money has been put together to get that new arena going.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Air Force is going to trade a rivalry with Army for their rivalries with CC and DU. Especially if it's possible Navy will be starting a program.

The service academies put everyone else whose not Army, Navy, or Air force a rung or ten below, when deciding who they want to beat.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think Air Force is going to trade a rivalry with Army for their rivalries with CC and DU."

Why would they have to? Last time I checked teams play non conference games. Minn. and Wisc. play Mich. St. and Mich. every year, UAA plays UAF every year, same as Mich Tech and Nothern Mich. They could easily schedule Army every year if they played in WCHA.

dggoddard said...

Air Force has unlimited Uncle Sam money and probably gets military and government discounts on travel.

I heard this weekend that Air Force even subsidizes AHA teams that fly out to Colorado.

Air Force has only won 2 of their last 9 games.

Bruce McLeod mentioned on the Gopher Broadcast this weekend that at least one Canadian school has inquired about the opening.

USAFA Bulldog said...

From all the football transfer rumors, etc I don't believe something until it's too late, meaning thus I won't believe his comments about UNO not changing conferences until the next season starts. Not that I believe they will change mind you.

His comments do seem to make some sense about sticking, but then again he's a coach not an AD.

I'd have to think it would be Northern or a Canadian school who would be school number twelve.

Anonymous said...

Man, it would be a dream to me for Northern Michigan to head back to the WCHA. I am a Wildcat fan, and loved watching the WCHA teams come to Marquette. I was fuming mad when they left the conference. If it were up to Coach Walt Kyle, they'd go back over, but the NMU Board and President love the idea of playing Michigan and Michigan State. Who cares, go play them in the GLI or a non-conference game.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that NMU's Board listened to the WCHA inquiry and asked for more information. Hard to believe UNO would turn it down. Talk about foolish. Central location to the WCHA schools, get in a better league, etc....

Anonymous said...

michigan tech to ccha
alaska and air force to wcha

travel problems solved