Bowling Green appears headed for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
The Falcons were one of five Central Collegiate Hockey Association schools invited to join the WCHA on
The WCHA gave each school 30 days to decide if they if would accept the invitation.
“If we dot the Is and cross the Ts correctly here in the next few days, a couple weeks, it looks like it
will be a reality and I certainly think it’s positive for our hockey program,” BG athletics director
Greg Christopher said Friday.
“We still have a handful of questions, assuming those get answered, we intend to move forward. I fully
expect we can make our decision within the 30 days and hopefully sooner than that.”
Ferris State accepted its invitation Friday, while Alaska (Fairbanks) and Lake Superior did so Thursday.
Western Michigan is still studying its options that might include a chance to join CCHA members Miami and
possibly Notre Dame in the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Assuming BG and Western both accept, the WCHA will grow to 11 schools.
The other WCHA schools are Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State (Mankato),
Northern Michigan and St. Cloud.
BG was forced to explore its league options this summer after Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State,
Northern and Miami announced they were leaving the CCHA earlier this year.
“Chris (BG head coach Bergeron) and I are very comfortable with this new WCHA,” Christopher said. “The
entire institution is behind this move.”
BG is a charter member of the CCHA that began play in the 1971-72 season.
The CCHA was formed after BG, St. Louis, OSU and Ohio were rejected for membership in the WCHA.
“The thing we’ve said all along is where is the best fit for Bowling Green hockey and when I say best fit
it’s about where we’ll be able to compete for a championship,” Christopher said of how BG evaluated its
options for future league membership.
“I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a lot of the coaches in what’s currently the WCHA (for 2013-14),”
Bergeron said. “They had some questions about Bowling Green perception wise, I talked to them about what
I’ve seen and where I feel we’re headed. It’s potentially a really good option for us. “
The CCHA and the WCHA plan to hold regular conference calls from now on.
“If you look at those 11 schools on paper, it’s impressive, the attendance, the facilities, the overall
commitment to hockey,” Christopher said.
Christopher said he didn’t see any way the WCHA and CCHA could each retain an automatic bid to the NCAAs
once the leagues merge.
Christopher said BG’s aggregate hockey budget “isn’t very different” compared to the other members of the
WCHA in 2013-14.
He also said BG’s travel costs would “go up a little bit” to join the WCHA.
Christopher said an admission fee hasn’t been discussed in detail, but said the WCHA entry fee is
typically one-tenth of the league’s budget that season. He estimated that to be about $50,000-75,000.
But Christopher said BG’s share of equity in the CCHA is more than $100,000, more than enough to cover
the cost of joining the WCHA.
The two sides have not discussed if the CCHA schools will commit to joining the WCHA for a minimum number
of years. Also to be determined is the financial penalty for a team leaving the league.
“There’s still some chapters to unfold here,” Christopher said. “I don’t think it’s completely done.
There’s a lot of smart people around the table and we’re having conversations looking at lot of options.
Everyone wants to write a one sentence headline and say it’s done, that these schools are moving to the
WCHA and the story is over.
“Unfortunately, this stopped being about being what’s best for college hockey a long time ago and this
has turned into a bit of a chess match. This isn’t the first move nor will it be the last move.”