If the goal here is to get all of you special seven in the NCAAís, it ainít going to happen with four of you only winning one or two non-con games.
Some thoughts on potential teams for a West Coast NCAA D1 Men's hockey conference:
University of Alaska Anchorage - NCAA D1
University of Alaska Fairbanks - NCAA D1
Arizona State University - NCAA D1
University of Washington - Competes in the PAC-8, which includes California, Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington State. Husky club hockey has been around for many years and is well known on the west coast. They always draw a significant fan base for regional matchups. With the NHL expansion into Seattle beginning with the 2021-22 season, there is no better location on the west coast to expand NCAA D1 men's hockey than Seattle, Washington.
Boise State University - Boise State's PAC-8 program is well developed and nationally competitive. They've won two PAC-8 championships and have a professional caliber arena in downtown Boise that would more than suffice for a D1 program. Sharing the Qwest Arena with the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads would further help build an already vibrant hockey culture in the small town of Boise, Idaho.
University of Nevada Las Vegas - Currently a ACHA D2 club, they've only lost three home games in two years. UNLV Rebels regularly play to a standing room-only City National Arena audience, which is the Vegas Golden Knights practice facility. They're currently working with the womenís lacrosse club as a way to also transition into NCAA status so as to ensure Title IX requirements are met, much like Arizona State did with lacrosse and womenís triathlon. In terms of facilities, infrastructure, fundraising and attendance, they may be in a better place than ASU was when they made the transition from club to D1 in 2015-16.
General Manager of the Rebels, Zee Khan estimates it would take $15-$20M to make the transition to D1 solvent for the first five years. Some significant financial generosity from the Engelstad Foundation and financial support from the Vegas Golden Knights has elevated their current budget to $500K. Add to that community fanbase efforts from area businesses such as medical professionals offering free services and clearly local fanbase support for the UNLV Rebels is strong enough to support a D1 team. I played in an exhibition against these guys back in the day and from what I remember they were fast, physical and well coached.
University of Oregon - Thanks to the backing from Nike's Phil Knight who has donated nearly $2 billion to U of O, his contributions have elevated the U of O athletics program and facilities to a level of excellence like few others. Oregon currently competes in the PAC-8 and won the PAC-8 championship last season. They have strong fanbase, so adding NCAA D1 men's and women's hockey to the mix would not be difficult. The new Matthew Knight Arena could easily be renovated to support college hockey. For the Ducks, hockey could easily become another massive revenue generator.
Stanford University - The Stanford University Cardinals is an academic elite much like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. that has surprisingly successful athletics and could easily benefit from another revenue generating sport like NCAA D1 men's hockey. They currently play in the Pacific Collegiate Hockey Association (PCHA). Played in an exhibition against these guys too back in the day and they always seemed to field very fast teams.
University of California Los Angeles - Support from two NHL franchises and the youth hockey scene which has exploded from the presence of the Kings (Gretzky effect) and Ducks. Two NCAA D1 teams in the LA area would immediately incite a local rivalry between USC and UCLA. UCLA could easily share an arena with an NHL franchise or it could invest in an arena on campus.
University of Southern California - USC is a private institution known for the quality of it's athletics and academics, so conceivably both the financial support and recruiting possibilities for a D1 men's hockey program is a no-brainer. The Trojans have won eight PAC-8 hockey championships dating back to 1998, the most of any PAC-8 team. They could easily play out of the Staples Center or Honda Center, or could invest in a small arena on campus (perhaps near the current Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum).
Great assessment. It would be great to see a strong PAC-8/10 DI conference in hockey. This would be the next logical step to expand the game and increase the market share for the game across the country. As more and more players are coming from the Left Coast, it would be nice if they could go to school closer to home.
This canít be good for their future
Michael Napier - UAH '97
UAH Chargers Hockey
U.S. National Club Champions - 1982, 1983, 1984
NCAA Division II National Champions - 1996, 1998
CHA Regular Season Champions - 2001, 2003
CHA Tournament Champions - 2007, 2010
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