I got this comment this morning, from one of our Michigan readers in Monroe, in regards to yesterday"ôs Big Ten Hockey announcement.
- - Careful what you wish for Heisler. This Big 10 Conference will be the death of many a fine, small program. Take Lake Superior,3-time NCAA D1 Champ, for example. Their best draws are when MSU, U of M and Ohio State come to town. Guess who won't be coming to town after the Big 10 Conference starts. The loss of revenue will be crushing. Ferris State, another respectable D1 program is in the same boat. There are many others as well. Have you not done any research on this subject? When the dust settles Heisler there will be LESS not more D1 programs for players to attend. So much for looking out for the player.- -
The comment is not fair. All I have ever done is look out for the player. The WCHA and CCHA will go on, and the schools you mentioned do not get the Michigans and Ohio States for the rest of the sports.
Also, the Big Ten as a hockey conference has been in the works for some time, the small guys knew it, and decided to still keep UAH off the island. So don't be blowing smoke up my backside crying about the small guys.
I love LSSU and Ferris, and do not believe for a second that they are going to go away. Will the competition for players get tougher? Certainly.
More D1 slots is going to be great for hockey, especially when those slots are at major universities.
American hockey is in a stage of correction. Like it or not, the explosion of minor professional hockey in the 90s did absolutely nothing for the development of the American game. Ultimately, like the traveling circus, most of those teams are long gone.
The next explosion came from pay-to-play junior hockey and now we are seeing a reduction of teams from that level. Heck, I talked with one of these owners yesterday and he believes that there are multi-team junior clubs that will drop the junior tag from the last team and play midget hockey. What a concept. I like seeing the system correcting itself.
Now the Big Ten is seeing the dollar signs. This is more about the Big Ten Network and quality content than anything else. The schools without hockey programs will quickly develop them because they are going to want a piece of the bigger pie.
The WCHA and CCHA need to exercise a degree of caution when moving forward.
The WCHA may want to avoid the lure of the PAC 10 schools because there is a good chance that the same situation may repeat itself. Extending invitations to Air Force and Alaska-Fairbanks would be good moves for the league. Two Alaska teams would mean that other WCHA teams could spend a week in Alaska and play on back-to-back weekends, like the NAHL teams.
There are more options for the CCHA. Alabama-Huntsville tops the list as does the addition of Mercyhurst and Niagara. Pittsburgh would be a nice CCHA school as well, but would have to start from scratch.
Regardless of the ever changing landscape, American Junior Hockey players will now have more opportunities to play college hockey. There is nothing wrong with that.
What do you think?