The WCHA unveiled their first league schedule following conference realignment much to the delight of Alabama-Huntsville.
According to a release by the conference, all 10 teams will play a 28 game conference schedule with 14 home and 14 road games. That keeps in line with past number of conference games played. With 10 teams, however, the WCHA will go back to having each school playing 5 other league members four times each and 4 others two times like they had prior to Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha joining the conference.
"We are extremely pleased with the 28 games per team schedule that will give our fans what they most want, and that's a majority of league games," said WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod in the release.
The biggest news to come out of Thursday's schedule is that Alabama-Huntsville will play a full conference slate. Previously, their participation in 2013-2014 was no guarantee. The Chargers, who joined the WCHA in January following three years as an independent, will make their conference debut October 25-26 at home against Bemidji State.
Other than that there aren't too many surprises with the WCHA schedule. A couple teams (Minnesota State, Michigan Tech) do have interesting road trips by playing both Alaska schools in Alaska on back-to-back weekends. It is also interesting to see the conference hold off on league games for a couple weeks to begin the season rather jump right into the thick of things.
The WCHA will keep both the MacNaughton Cup for the regular season winner and Broadmoor Trophy for the WCHA tournament champion. Where that champion will be crowned will be officially announced March 20 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. Previous reports have stated that the plan is to rotate the tournament between Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids and the Xcel Energy Center.
These changes come as five CCHA schools - Alaska, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan - and Alabama-Huntsville join WCHA holdovers Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State in 2013-2014.
They join the conference as Minnesota and Wisconsin will leave for the Big Ten. Six WCHA schools (North Dakota, Denver, Colorado College, Minnesota-Duluth, St. Cloud State and Nebraska-Omaha), meanwhile, will create the National College Hockey Conference with Miami and Western Michigan.