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Getting the CHA back to six teams - let the speculation begin ...

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  • Getting the CHA back to six teams - let the speculation begin ...

    I spoke with CHA (and NEWHA and Atlantic Hockey) Commissioner Bob DeGregorio this week and he is adamant the conference will be back up to six before their waiver runs out.

    According to him, they're in talks with a school about elevating their program and a current DI school that would transfer conferences to the CHA.

    I literally have no intel. There is no insider information here. But my gut says the current DI program will be a women's program who's men's team is already playing in Atlantic Hockey.

    Also, in our interview, a bit that didn't make it into the article was about getting schools to add ice hockey and DeGregorio is big on having the rink on campus. So with that very flimsy reasoning, my guess right now is Sacred Heart.

    The other team that intrigues me and whose men play in AHA is Holy Cross. It's unlikely they'd leave Hockey East, but man do their odds at the NCAA tournament increase exponentially if they make that jump.

    As for elevating a program, it could be an ACHA/club team, or a DIII team. Again, I know nothing. Someone asked me about NMU's feasibility study and that put Adrian in my head and it won't go away. It would be big to get a DI program in Michigan. I have not one iota of reason for this line of thinking other than I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since it popped in my head, so I'll encourage some rampant speculation and see what everyone thinks.
    It's a great day for hockey!

  • #2
    For elevation, it's more likely a DI school that only offers ACHA hockey, a smaller club league (are there any left?), or even no hockey at all. For a DIII program to elevate they need to elevate the entire athletic department. There are no more play-ups allowed. That's why the NCAA is moving to allow RIT and Union to offer scholarships, they are the last of their kind.

    Plenty of candidates to speculate on from ACHA alone. DI Schools with ACHA women's teams (excluding schools with NCAA programs in women's hockey):

    - Arizona State
    - UMass Amherst
    - Liberty U
    - Colorado State
    - Denver
    - Colorado
    - Air Force
    - Utah
    - Michigan
    - Navy
    - Nothern Michigan
    - Michigan State
    - North Dakota State
    - Miami University
    - Towson
    - Maryland
    - Nebraska
    - Notre Dame
    - UPenn
    - Villanova
    - Western Michigan
    - Pittsburgh
    - Central Michigan
    - University of Buffalo
    - Loyola (MD)
    - Delaware

    Apologies for any omissions
    Last edited by Scott_TG; 11-18-2021, 05:12 PM.


    • #3
      Notre Dame (adding girls hockey to d 1 men's ) and Univ of Buffalo(D one football) jump out at me. My longshot would be Navy. And for a team switching conferences - how about Union or RPI.


      • #4
        No existing ECAC school would ever leave for the CHA - travel costs alone would sink the program. ECAC also prides itself (a bit) that it is the only conference where all the members have both a mens and womens program. RPI, Union, anyone would be a fool to leave for the CHA.

        Unless a school will elevate to D1, their only other option would be to raid NEWHA. However, I would not be surprised at all to see Penn State try to join the WCHA to be with the B1G brethren.

        If Note Dame adds Women's D1 hockey (highly unlikely but lets play), then the B1G will form a women's conference. Wisco/Minny/OSU/PSU/ND + Syracuse (big 10 and ACC have a 'special arrangement' now) would get an associate member invite. CHA folds with most going to WCHA. RIT to NEWHA.

        Schools talk about elevating or adding D1 programs all the time. I will believe it when I see it - I would bet the odds are far more likely with the CHA folding then a school being added. Even if they try to raid the NEWHA, why would a NEWHA school agree? Travel costs explode and they are getting an auto-bid as well now. What does the CHA offer them other than roadtrips to Lindenwood?


        • #5
          Travel costs would explode but what CHA offers over NEWHA is better hockey on average, 2 name brand schools, 1 school with decent women’s hockey history, and proximity to the Toronto market of players. If they have the budget, perhaps an east coast school could recruit the east coast stay at home players, and get some TO kids who want to play in front of parents on the road against fellow CHA teams.

          With the addition of Stonehill, NEWHA has one to give so to speak. It wouldn’t be raiding, merely growing the game :-)

          Holy Cross seems like a reasonable flip given the AHA connection. Bentley has a brand new rink I think and no women’s team. 1 of those 2 maybe?

          Canisius doesn’t even have club women’s hockey afaik which is surprising. Hopefully someday they can get a team and join the cha.

          What about Bowling Green, Miami of Ohio? Good options for the CHA.

          I understand why ECAC is home for Union and RPI but from a hockey standpoint CHA is a reasonable option for them. I don’t know the math on how far they are.

          Great to see the commissioner engaged on the issue.


          • #6
            How much would geography play a part? Being under a two-year time limit, would the CHA take whoever might be willing to join, regardless of where the school is located?


            • #7
              Lindsay's argument is how a fan thinks (which makes sense, we are all fans!) but not how a college president thinks. All the non-Ivy ECAC schools consider themselves "Ivy Peers" and would never leave that association no matter how bad any given year or decade is competitively. Union, if they were never going to be allowed fully schollys, MIGHT consider leaving in a momentary lapse in judgement but with them now offering schollys (or expected to), they will never leave so long as the Ivys never breaks off.

              Penn State and Syracuse will take the first train out as soon as they can, and PSU especially I would expect are pushing for this very quietly behind the scenes and might even get some of their big donors to "help things along" to get a B1G women's league. Hate to say it, but when it comes to conference realignment, it is every school for themselves. It would not surprise me in the least that, even without existing B1G schools adding a women's program, that they don't try to find a 'peer' school to join. And 'peer school' here means geographic and academic fit - NOT athletic (like how they added Rutgers..). This is the ONLY condition I could see one of the NY ECAC schools leaving - to join a B1G women's league, but even that would be a stretch.

              Assuming Penn State and Syracuse out in the near future with a B1G women's league, Lindenwood would go to the WCHA as they will need to reload. RIT to NEWHA. Hurst, even though a geographic outlier, might get a WCHA invite to help fill the gap of OSU/Wisco/Minny leaving but the WCHA does not NEED them. A chance HE throws them a life-line for added competitiveness but in a worst case scenario, they go to NEWHA.


              • #8
                CH, Yes I realize Union and RPI think they are Ivy peers. I said in my post I understand why ECAC is home for them.

                I was explaining what CHA offers the NEWHA folks.

                There is definitely a risk that a B1G will form and Cuse and Penn State will bounce but like you say I will believe it when I see it. And if realignment happens so be it. But step 1 is getting a sixth in 2023....

                Zed- I don’t know if geography matters. Anything but Alaska or Arizona maybe?


                • #9
                  There is always a lot of potential for realignment. But what sometimes gets lost in the considerations is the very important currency of tradition. The ECAC has a very comfortable alignment of the men's and women' s programs and it has become quite a deep tradition in terms of academic and athletic fit. I would be very surprised to see any disruption there. You can go in to any ECAC rink and see the banners of the other 11 programs displayed and it does mean something.


                  • #10
                    I think Liberty is a sleeper. A lot of money and they are desperate for whatever legitimacy they can get, including by being part of NCAA conferences.

                    The question is does the CHA need them enough for the controversy associated with the Falwells?


                    • #11
                      Did not think of Liberty - they are making huge investments in athletics and have a really nice on-campus rink already. And money. They might actually be the most promising to make the jump.

                      After thinking over what Lindsay said, it might be in both the CHA and NEWHA interests to actually merge. I agree that a B1G women's league is still a bit off but all it will take is for one of the Michigan schools or ND to add a program, or Illinois to finally make the jump. I'd say that is likely within the next 10 years or so for one of those conditions to be met. A CHA+NEWHA merger would give critical mass to the league, can be broken into an "east" and "west" division and if (when) PSU and/or Syracuse does jump it will not break the league. Also, puts to rest all of those NCAA tournament bid discussions!


                      • #12
                        What is Liberty's mascot? The Giancarlos?


                        • #13
                          What about Air Force?


                          • #14
                            I think the answer for the CHA is to add Niagara, Wayne State, and Findlay!
                            Last edited by shelfit; 11-18-2021, 09:58 PM.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cornholio View Post
                              If Note Dame adds Women's D1 hockey (highly unlikely but lets play), then the B1G will form a women's conference. Wisco/Minny/OSU/PSU/ND + Syracuse (big 10 and ACC have a 'special arrangement' now) would get an associate member invite. CHA folds with most going to WCHA. RIT to NEWHA.
                              If what you say about Syracuse and the ACC is correct, would not the same apply to ACC member Boston College?
                              Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.