North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha have tentatively agreed to play a non-conference game in Manitoba next season. There's also been rumors of games being scheduled in other Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.
I'm not sure what this is, other than yet another prime example of the CHL throwing out raw numbers while being afraid of divulging what percentage that number represents of the whole, but the CHL has created some sort of advisory panel to help their players once they're done with the CHL. I agree with it in principle, since players aging out of the CHL have a very difficult decision between using their education packages and attempting to play pro hockey. If only there was some sort of way for players to get a four-year education paid for and still have the opportunity for a career in hockey.
I'd say chances are pretty good though that this is another one of the CHL's one-and-done PR moves, with some stirring rhetoric and zero follow-through. Until further notice, you can chalk this up alongside Windsor and Kitchener's lawsuit against Jeff Jackson for saying they pay players under the table--it's been 675 days since they first announced that, so expect them to file suit any day now--David Branch's "Fairness Czar"--I love the Buzzing the Net crew, but even last week they were discussing, non-ironically, how Sault Ste Marie needs to draft better, and the only way that will ever happen is if they move 400 miles southeast and start writing bigger checks--and the CHL's whining last summer about the NCAA not wanting to work out a deal with them--something they completely contradicted when they spent the better part of the following month trying to strengthen their player agreement with the NHL; the largest hold-up in the dispute between the two.
This guy takes a fairly logical stab at what a Big Ten Hockey Conference schedule would look like. It looks good except for the 24-game conference schedule. Six games against a single team is overkill. A 20-game conference schedule is sufficient, and leaves 14-16 non-conference games to play with. The big issue will be coming up with some sort of scheduling agreement with the smaller schools for those 14-16 non-conference games. With the way things are done now, the Big Ten schools would hold all the power, with everyone desperate to schedule games against them. If there was an agreement in place with rotating home and away games for all those teams, I think a Big Ten Conference would be fairly palatable.
I'm still trying to figure out a possible advantage to switching back to the retro-version of the PWR. One of the only possible advantages I could come up with is that there will perhaps be a little less volatility one of the final weekend of the season because most of the teams near the YNT Cliff will already be out of the playoffs and done for the season by the final weekend. All those teams would move fractionally based on the final round of the playoffs, but hopefully it wouldn't be twitchy enough to cause big disturbances. That said, it's still a stupid, stupid system, with no real logic guiding it.