The NCHC released a statement on Wednesday saying that they will not move forward with any possible expansion at this time.
Here is the complete statement from league commissioner Josh Fenton:
“After careful consideration and a thorough vetting process, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Board of Directors announced the Conference will not move forward with membership expansion at this time. We will continue to be attentive to the college hockey landscape and any future changes that may come. However, our focus right now is guided by what we can do to strengthen our current membership into the future.”
Minnesota State declined comment in the wake of the news:
“At this time” may be the key part of the NCHC’s statement. The linchpin of Arizona State’s acceptance seemed to be the ability find a new arena to play in. As we discussed last week, there is still a lot of work to be done before a new arena partnership with the Arizona Coyotes becomes a building they can play in, and getting it done in less than 800 days seemed unrealistic.
That means Arizona State is likely to stay an independent program until the issue can be revisited. Being an independent is generally extremely difficult to do in college hockey due to the difficulty of fielding a full schedule, especially late in the season. So far, scheduling has not been a problem for the Sun Devils, and hopefully that will continue to be the case as they work to gain conference membership.