Once again, we’re told that the Arizona State Sun Devils might have a solution to their arena issue. This week, ASU announced that the school was renovating an existing on-campus arena.
Arizona State University unveiled preliminary plans this week for a $160 million renovation of Wells Fargo Arena with an adjacent indoor sports complex to house men’s hockey, wrestling and gymnastics.
The plans were reviewed by the Arizona Board of Regents Business and Finance Committee on Thursday, and members voted unanimously to send the plans to the full board for approval in February. (Nate Fain, AZ Central)
First, this is a subject that keeps popping up from time-to-time and before the National Collegiate Hockey Conference even considers adding additional teams, they need to think long and hard. Currently, the NCHC is functioning well and rejected the ASU membership application back in August of 2016.
I still believe that NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton said it best:
“After careful consideration and a thorough vetting process, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Board of Directors announced the Conference will not move forward with membership expansion at this time, NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton said a release. “We will continue to be attentive to the college hockey landscape and any future changes that may come. However, our focus right now is guided by what we can do to strengthen our current membership into the future.”
The current NCHC comes first.
Before you rock the boat and change the landscape of the best college hockey conference think long and hard. If it doesn’t look right walk away, quickly.
First, I realize that the Sun Devils are a Power Five school (Yahoo Sports ranked them 30th out of the 65 schools), that doesn’t translate to the hockey team. If ASU is serious about college hockey, why do they still have their club hockey coach as the current head coach? Why haven’t they hired an established, bonafide college hockey coach? In comparison, Penn State hired an established head coach when they made the transition to Division I.
If I was the commissioner of the NCHC, at a minimum, I wouldn’t even consider adding ASU until they’ve finished their arena renovation. The NCHC holds all of the cards. Don’t give away the farm. I trust Commissioner Fenton to do the right thing.
I am also leery of adding a P-5 school. The NCHC is full of Mid Majors and Division II schools. Eventually, they may want to exert their power and influence on the rest of the member schools. The NCHC walked away from Notre Dame for that very reason.
Lastly, we keep hearing how some teams in college hockey are teetering on the edge of extinction. Alaska Anchorage almost ended up dustbin of college hockey history. Plucking another team from the WCHA might put the dominos in motion for something very bad. Let them find a place in the WCHA.