|Flashes from Gordon: Perceptions of Falcon hockey changing (04-04-14)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 04 April 2014 10:15|
CHANGE: Perceptions of the Bowling Green Falcon hockey program are changing.
The Falcons have steadily improved during their four seasons with Chris Bergeron as head coach.
Before Bergeron, and assistant coaches Barry Schutte and Ty Eigner took over, the Falcon program was one of the worst in the country and was nearly eliminated for budget reasons by the school.
This season, BG was 18-15-6 overall and tied for third in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with a 13-11-4 record - despite a season filled with inconsistent play, injuries and off-ice distractions.
"The word is getting out about what our program is doing," Bergeron said. "We're hearing that a lot, that this place is better than what I expected it to be. What made you expect it not to be great? Perception. Not reality, but perception."
The improved perceptions are allowing the Falcons to recruit better players.
"Those walls are difficult to break down and those perceptions are nobody's fault," he said. "We're getting more and more (recruits) on this campus, in terms of higher profile people in a small hockey world.''
The Falcons are looking forward to a successful future after moving to the WCHA from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association after the 2012-13 season.
"We were expecting to compete at a high level in the CCHA as we moved forward. We expected to compete at a high level in the WCHA," Bergeron said. "No matter what league we're in, we expect to compete at a high level."
REALIGNMENT: Although college hockey is finishing its first season under its new realignment, the rumor mill remains ripe with talk of more change in 3-5 years.
The WCHA Final Five was full of realignment chatter two weeks ago.
In an interview on North Dakota's radio station during last weekend's NCAA Midwest Regional in Cincinnati, WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said he foresees more league changes down the line.
Although the WCHA is full of good schools, good competition, good people and good hockey, the league's geography and travel costs are not good. - especially with some teams having to make two trips to Alaska each season.
For that matter, one also has to wonder about the cost of travel for Miami and Western Michigan in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Miami and Western have trips to Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota and St. Cloud.
And one has to wonder if the CCHA won't be back in some form since BG still holds the rights to the CCHA name.
Perhaps the CCHA could return with BG, Ferris State, Lake Superior, Miami and Western for starters.
BG, Miami and Western already are Mid-American Conference members in other sports.
Bemidji State and Minnesota State could join the NCHC as replacements for Miami and Western, while Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech could have their choice of the CCHA or the NCHC.
A new CCHA could be rounded out with Alabama-Huntsville, Robert Morris, Niagara, Canisius and Mercyhurst among others.
Where the two Alaska schools fit in - if anywhere - is interesting because of their location and the cost to travel there. Unfortunately, they could be left out in the cold because of the economics.
HYPOCRITICAL: When the University of Toledo won the Women's National Invitation Tournament in 2011, some Falcon fans accused the Rockets of buying a championship and UT fans of being too enthusiastic about winning an event that basically has its champion claiming, "We're No. 65."
Of course, those same Falcon fans were strangely silent during BG's run to the WNIT quarterfinals.
BG played all four of its WNIT games at the Stroh Center, just as UT played all six of its 2011 WNIT games at home.
The reality is the WNIT is ruled by money, and the school that guarantees the most income hosts each game. BG and UT both played by the rules.
And there's nothing wrong with fans of both schools being proud of their team's success in the 64-team WNIT.
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