On Wednesday, the Denver Pioneers and the Colorado College Tigers announced that will be two of the founding teams in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which begins play in the 2013-14 season. The four other members, as expected, are Miami University, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota. Minnesota-Duluth is coming off of a national championship season in 2011.
Miami is the only school of the six schools that does not compete in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Redhawks are members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Neither conference will likely have the six teams needed to receive an automatic qualifier into the NCAA Hockey Tournament, as the creation of the Big 10 Hockey Conference has gutted the existing landscape already.
Notre Dame currently plays in the CCHA and has an open invitation to join the NCHC. Notre Dame could choose the Hockey East Conference, but it doesn't have all the powerhouse programs that the NCHC offers.