|CCHA rejects Huntsville's bid|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Wednesday, 12 August 2009 07:40|
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. - Alabama-Huntsville's bid to join the Central Collegiate Hockey Association was rejected by the league Tuesday.
The CCHA Council, comprised of league athletic directors and faculty representatives, voted against UAH's application.
Results of the vote weren't announced, but UAH needed at least nine votes for approval.
"The CCHA will remain focused on maintaining and strengthening our existing members to ensure the conference's continued success and long-term viability," CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos said in a statement.
The CCHA will become an 11-team league at the end of this season when Nebraska-Omaha leaves to join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
"The league completed its due diligence of the application for membership submitted by the University of Alabama in Huntsville with careful consideration and discussion of various issues," Anastos said. "At this time, we have chosen to maintain our membership at its current level."
The rejection puts the future of UAH's program in even more jeopardy.
UAH is a member of College Hockey America, which is folding after next season. It is the only member of the CHA not to have found a new league.
Bemidji State will join UNO in the WCHA, and Robert Morris and Niagara will move to Atlantic Hockey.
"We are certainly disappointed in the decision and feel like our program has a lot to offer to any league," UAH athletics director Jim Harris told the Huntsville Times. He is a former athletics department official at BGSU. "We are going to look at other options that are available to us and then move forward."
UAH's head coach is Danton Cole, who was an assistant at BG during the 2006-07 season.
This season will be UAH's 25th as a varsity program. The school helped form the CHA.
The Chargers were 5-20-5 overall and 3-11-4 in the CCHA last season.
The uncertain future of the BG program and UAH's distance from the rest of the CCHA are believed to be two of the reasons the CCHA voted no.
Although recent events make it look like the BG program will be saved, it is believed the CCHA didn't want UAH at this time because the league would go back to 11 teams if the BG program was eliminated.
An even number of teams is preferred because it makes for easier scheduling.
Some of the smaller schools were thought to have voted against UAH because it would have meant another long trip in the league. But UAH is rumored to have offered to pay a large portion of the travel costs, just as the University of Alaska does each season.
In addition, it is believed that at least one of the CCHA's bigger schools didn't like the idea of admitting another small school to the league.
Although UAH's hockey program competes at the NCAA Division I level, the school's other teams are in Division II.
UAH was willing to pay an admission fee to join the league. That fee was believed to be $150,000.
UAH is scheduled to host the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla.
The CCHA has had 12 teams since the 1999-2000 season when UNO was admitted to the league. - GORDON
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