The Denver Pioneers and the Colorado College Tigers will say goodbye to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association over the next two seasons. On Saturday it was announced by the athletic directors of the University of Denver, Colorado College, Miami University, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota that their respective hockey teams will form a new college hockey conference starting in the 2013-14 season. This comes a few months after the Big 10 announced that it would begin its hockey conference in the same season.
With the formation of these two new leagues, college hockey is certainly on the rise. This as-yet-unnamed conference is certainly a powerhouse. Denver and North Dakota have each won seven NCAA hockey championships while Colorado College has two and Minnesota-Duluth won its first this year. The Big 10 conference will have nine-time champion Michigan, six-time winner Wisconsin, five-time victor Minnesota and three-time champ Michigan State.
The WCHA will be at five teams if the conference makes no moves to add new members, which means it would be out of an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament. Six teams are necessary for that.
We'll find out more on Wednesday, July 13, when a news conference is held in Colorado Springs.