|(Updated 9:23am, 09-23-11) Deadline extended to Oct. 7 for BGSU hockey decision|
|Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Thursday, 22 September 2011 15:37|
Bowling Green's deadline for deciding on whether it will join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association has been extended.
The school will have two extra weeks, until Oct. 7, to make its decision, BG athletics director Greg Christopher said Thursday.
BG's original deadline was today.
BG was one of five Central Collegiate Hockey Association schools invited to join the WCHA on Aug. 25, effective with the 2013-14 season.
Alaska (Fairbanks), Ferris State and Lake Superior already have accepted the WCHA's invitation, while Western Michigan turned down the invitation to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Western announced its decision Thursday.
Northern Michigan had previously announced it was leaving the CCHA for the WCHA.
Also Thursday, St. Cloud announced it was leaving the WCHA for the NCHC.
Reports of Western and St. Cloud going to the NCHC first became public Tuesday.
The WCHA currently has eight schools for the 2013-14 season when all of college hockey's realignment takes effect. The others are Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State (Mankato).
"We continue to assess our options for hockey conference affiliation and expect to wrap up details within the next couple of weeks," Christopher said in a statement. "Our dialogue with other schools and the WCHA is ongoing. We appreciate the WCHA's patience as we work through internal and external conversations.
"With the movement this week, the dynamic has changed. This is an important decision for BGSU and we owe it to our program and institution to do our due diligence."
The extension further fueled speculation Atlantic Hockey members Canisius, Mercyhurst, Niagara and Robert Morris are being considered for WCHA membership.
Those four schools have expressed an interest in leaving their present league because it offers only 12 scholarships, six below the NCAA maximum. The CCHA and the WCHA use the NCAA maximum.
Adding those four schools would help balance the revamped WCHA geographically. If BG and the four Atlantic Hockey schools joined the WCHA, the league would have 13 schools - six in the south/east; and seven in the north/west.
And it's not out of the question that Air Force, also a member of Atlantic Hockey, might consider a move to the WCHA.
Christopher initially said in late August that BG is "tracking towards" WCHA membership.
"That's a good option for Bowling Green," Christopher said earlier this month about the WCHA. "The question is can we make it better and that's some of the conversations we're having behind the scenes with those schools now. Ultimately, how big would that league look and (what would) the configuration of that league (look like)?"
Independent Alabama-Huntsville also is looking to join a league, but the Chargers haven't been mentioned in any of college hockey's vast rumor mills about being a candidate for membership in the WCHA.
The Chargers are facing an uncertain future without league affiliation and the program is trying to raise money to ensure its long-term future.
|Last Updated on Friday, 23 September 2011 08:24|
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