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Wayne State Applies to CCHA

This week's INCH CHA Notebook says that Wayne State has applied to join the CCHA in 2008-2009.

Everyone would like to keep the CHA around as a conference, but it's looking like that isn't feasible anymore. They don't have enough teams right now, and I don't see anyone on the horizon that looks poised to join the conference and save it.

If Wayne State did join the CCHA, obviously that would put them at 13 teams, which would make the league schedule even more messy than it already is.

A potentially interesting solution that I think is worth looking at is allowing Wayne State into the conference, then sending Nebraska-Omaha to the WCHA and allowing Bemidji to join the WCHA. That would put 12 teams in each of the two conferences.

There would be other benefits as well. Namely, it cuts down on travel costs. A trip to Detroit is a lot closer than a trip to Omaha for everyone in the CCHA except Fairbanks. Omaha is a nice fit for the WCHA. Interest in college hockey has declined a bit in Omaha, but they've got a beautiful facility and a huge potential fanbase. It's also pretty centrally located. Mankato, Minneapolis, St. Cloud, and Denver would all be within a 7 hour drive of Omaha. Omaha may lose a few fans since they draw a lot of fans for Michigan and Michigan State because they're football schools and Wisconsin is the only school in the WCHA with a D1-A football program, but it probably wouldn't be that big of a drop. Adding Bemidji to the conference would also create less travel for most of the schools in the conference.

Of course that leaves the other three CHA teams kind of hanging. Niagara and Robert Morris could take Atlantic Hockey from 10 teams to 12. That still leaves Alabama-Huntsville without a place to play. I have no idea what will become of them, but no matter where they go, things are going to be tough for them.