The WCHA made it official with a vote at the NCAA convention this afternoon—the University of Alabama-Huntsville will be a member of the new league that forms in the fall after the Big Ten Conference and National Collegiate Hockey Conference begin play.
With this news, the new WCHA conference dropping pucks in 2013-14 consists of Alaska-Fairbanks, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, and Northern Michigan from the old CCHA. The old-WCHA teams: Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, and Minnesota State. Alabama-Huntsville’s inclusion makes the new WCHA a ten-team league.
A story posted earlier in the week chronicled the idea that UAH would find it easier to recruit talent, being members of a league that has existed since 1951. “It would make recruiting so much easier,” said UAH coach Kurt Kleinendorst. “It’s difficult to recruit as the last independent (program) in the country. It would allow us to take our program to another level. We can go to the kids’ living room and tell their parents we’re in the WCHA. That league carries a lot of weight.”
It turns out that the WCHA does indeed carry a lot of weight. From the WCHA:
“The WCHA is delighted to have reached in principle an agreement to officially welcome University of Alabama in Huntsville into the Association family as a full-time men’s member. This is a significant day for the Chargers, the community of Huntsville, the conference itself and college hockey in general. Growing the game and assisting developing programs however possible has always been a charge of the WCHA and this is another positive evolution in our history.
“Each of our member institutions are 100 percent committed to keeping the WCHA among the premier conferences in all of collegiate athletics and our respective ice hockey programs both strong and vibrant. The University of Alabama in Huntsville is a dynamic, top-quality institution with an excellent academic and athletic reputation and without question the Chargers are going to be a great fit and a successful, contributing member.
“Just as the entire UAH campus and the Huntsville community are exhilarated to now have a welcoming home for their men’s hockey program, the WCHA is also extremely proud and gratified to be providing that home.”
Geoff Discher is Examiner.com's National College Hockey Examiner as well as the Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner. Leave a comment below, or feel free to reach him at Disch61@hotmail.com with comments, story ideas, or any general talk surrounding college hockey. You can find him on Facebook as well by clicking here and here, joining the conversation from the social media side as well. He's always chock full of fact and opinion.