The membership of the 2013-2014 WCHA held meetings this week in Detroit to discuss their future. At the conclusion of the meeting, the league put this press release on their website, and not on their Twitter feed because it wasn't spam, discussing some of the things to come out of the meeting.
Among the things discussed:
- A 28-game conference schedule. I was hoping they'd go with that one. Some people will say, "But that doesn't allow for enough non-conference games to make the PWR formula more accurate!" I tell those people to go play with your graphing calculator, Poindexter. I'd rather watch two games against league rivals competing for points to win a league championship than watch two teams that play once a decade fighting it out for hundredths of a percentage point in some convoluted math formula for a spot in a comically short postseason tournament. Non-conference games are never as hard-fought and entertaining as conference games.
Name recognition will also obviously be an issue for this new league. It's going to be important to make sure fans see all. or at least most of those teams every year and start building rivalries.
-All 9 teams will make the postseason tournament. I'm not really sure how this will work. Maybe, like me, the WCHA is just assuming that Alaska-Anchorage will be in APR Jail and won't be playing in the postseason anyway?
Shane Frederick reported that the league champion will receive a bye to the Final Five, and as an even bigger shock, Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage will play each other in the first round of the playoffs every year, unless one of those teams wins the league. Yikes. Like choosing to play hockey games at the Target Center, there is absolutely no way to spin that as anything other than being a second-rate laughingstock.
-They updated the league bylaws. Who knows what this means. The league bylaws are a pretty mysterious document. All I know is that they were once described to me by someone who had read them as: "Clearly not run through Spellcheck."
-They discussed venues for their postseason tournament. Since they seem intent on sticking with the Final Five format, there is not a venue small enough for the crowd their Thursday games will draw. I just hope they pick somewhere way too big and hard to get to, because good God did those NHL playoffs suck. Too many games! Too many fans! Where were the committees! College hockey is far too important for something like that.
-Expansion. Pretty much what you already knew. The WCHA would theoretically like a 10th team to give them an even number, but Alabama-Huntsville is the only serious option out there, and the league isn't sure if they want to add them. UAH would be willing to cover some of the cost of travel. Some coaches are concerned that they might have to play Friday night and then Saturday night when they go to Huntsville, which seems more like searching for an excuse than raising a valid complaint.
-Okay, I've teased you guys long enough, and I'll get to what you're really interested in: useless titles to make people feel important. For the first time ever, the WCHA didn't underwhelm: "The league agreed on a change in governance that will have the Presidents Council act as the Board of Directors and the Athletic Directors serve as the Management Council. The President's Council also created a Steering Committee to coordinate and handle major issues going forward." Two councils and a steering committee! One thing is for sure; this league definitely means Serious Business, if you ignore the whole Alaska teams playing each other every year in the playoffs.