While the formation of the Big 10 hockey conference and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference drew all the headlines back in the spring and summer, Hockey East might have just pulled off a coup. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish announced that they will leave the CCHA for Hockey East starting in the 2013-2014 season. Both the Big 10 and the NCHC would have been solid landing places for the program, but Hockey East is one of the premier college hockey leagues. Boston College, Boston University, Maine and New Hampshire are all top college programs continually reach the NCAA Tournament. From 2008-10, Hockey East won all three Frozen Fours, including two by Boston College.â†µ
But what makes this move even bigger is the TV deal that Notre Dame brings with it. Notre Dame hockey and other Hockey East teams will be shown on Versus (which will be known as NBC Sports Network in 2012). The exposure and monetary gain for these schools will be great. It will also expand college hockey's reach from beyond regional networks and CBS Sports Network's national coverage to a broader audience. No more waiting until the NCAA Tournament to turn on an ESPN channel to catch hockey.â†µ
College hockey is certainly on the rise.