|University at Buffalo confirms hockey interest (9-25-11)|
|Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Sunday, 25 September 2011 20:43|
The University at Buffalo could be returning to a revamped Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
The Bulls are exploring the possibility of restoring their varsity hockey program, the school confirmed late Friday afternoon.
Buffalo is one five schools involved in discussions with Bowling Green regarding the future of college hockey and possible league affiliation.
The Bulls were a CCHA affiliate for at least the 1973-74 and 1974-75 seasons, competing in Division II with Western Michigan and Lake Forest (Ill). The school was known as the State University of New York at Buffalo at the time.
BG played Buffalo twice each season from 1973-77.
BG and Buffalo are members of the Mid-American Conference in all other sports.
“The University at Buffalo athletic department has been in conversations with established Division I hockey conferences to examine the possibility of returning our hockey program,” Buffalo athletics director Warde Manuel said in a statement.
BG still hasn’t decided on what league it’ll be playing in for the 2013-14 season when all of college hockey’s realignment takes effect. The school has until Oct. 7 to decide if it will join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
BG received a two-week extension from the WCHA on Thursday in order to continue its talks with Buffalo; and Atlantic Hockey members Canisius, Mercyhurst, Niagara and Robert Morris.
BG is the only CCHA team left for the 2013-14 season.
Buffalo’s program was downgraded from varsity to club status in 1988. The program was playing at the NCAA Division III level when it became a club team.
“While we are flattered to have these discussions, there are several things that would need to occur both fiscally and within conference alignments for this to work for UB at this time,” Manuel said.
But one source said Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the NHL’s Boston Bruins, may be willing to fund all or part of the Bulls’ hockey program.
Jacobs’ other business, Delaware North Companies, is headquartered in Buffalo and he donated $10 million to the school in 2008.
He is a graduate of Buffalo’s school of management, holds an honorary doctorate from the school and has served on a number of leadership boards at the school.
Also, Canisius and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres are discussing the possibility of building a new arena that also would serve as the Sabres’ practice facility, Canisius’ student newspaper, the Griffin, reported.
Sabres’ owner Terry Pegula already has donated $88 million to Penn State to fund that school’s men’s and women’s hockey programs, and build their new arena.
BG conceivably still join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which added Western of the CCHA and WCHA member St. Cloud Thursday.
Notre Dame hasn’t announced its league plans and the school has been linked to the NCHC and Hockey East.
The NCHC’s other members are Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota.
“I don’t think there’s a set number in our mind right now,” North Dakota athletics director Brian Faison said Thursday when asked about additional NCHC expansion.
He spoke during St. Cloud’s press conference to announce that school’s move.
The addition of Notre Dame would give the NCHC nine members.
Leagues prefer an even number of teams because it makes scheduling league games easier. The even number means there are no bye teams during league play. An even number also makes arranging the playoff format easier.
“That doesn’t preclude us from adding another team if the right team is out there,” Faison said of a nine-team league.
Miami and Western also are MAC members.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 25 September 2011 20:53|
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