The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) grew by two members on Thursday afternoon when the St. Cloud State Huskies and the Western Michigan Broncos both accepted invitations that were extended on Wednesday. The conference previously consisted of Colorado College, the University of Denver, Miami University, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota. The new hockey conference begins play during the 2013-14 season.
St. Cloud State has built itself into a strong hockey program as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) while the Western Michigan Broncos reached the NCAA Hockey Tournament for the first time in 2011. Both the WCHA and Western Michigan's Central Collegiate Hockey Association will continue searching for new members before their respective teams leave in two years.
The WCHA accepted Northern Michigan back into the conference in July, which it left back in 1997 for the CCHA. Notre Dame is still a part of the CCHA, but it is still weighing its options. The NCHC is a strong possibility. The Big 10 hockey conference also begins play in 2013. The Big 10 and the NCHC figure to be the dominant conferences in college hockey.