By now you probably heard that seven schools from the reconstituted WCHA are going to break away and start their own conference. Ironically, the new conference is going to take the name of the defunct CCHA. That leaves three teams Alaska, Alaska-Anchorage, and Alabama-Huntsville looking for a new conference or folding.
From a release — Seven prominent NCAA Division I hockey playing institutions who first announced last June the exploration of a new Division I men’s hockey conference that will begin play in the 2021-2022 season, have now shared that the league will be reestablished and branded as the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). The seven member institutions include: Bemidji State University, Bowling Green State University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and Northern Michigan University.
The alignment continues to be led by Dr. Morris Kurtz, a noted athletics and hockey consultant, who has guided the members through legal incorporation, the creation of league bylaws and the establishment of a financial escrow fund. According to Kurtz, the next steps will include development of league branding and logos and commencement of a search for the conference’s first Commissioner, who they hope to have in place no later than July 1.
“It’s been inspiring to lead this group as it is comprised of institutions rich in history and tradition, with a strong commitment to academic and athletic excellence. As noted from inception, they have a real vision for where they are going with the new league, as they focus on improving regional alignment while building natural rivalries and enhancing the student-athlete and fan experience,” said Kurtz.
Kurtz explained the decision to revive the CCHA moniker. “After extensive discussion and significant due diligence, it made sense to everyone involved to move in this direction. The name conveys the current geographic alignment of our members and the CCHA brand has a tremendous amount of equity and goodwill associated with it. What’s old is new again and we look forward to refreshing the brand and identity to fully capture the energy and passion of the institutions it represents.”
No timeline was given, but Kurtz indicates the schools are moving in the appropriate direction to conclude the establishment of the league and they are right on pace for an October 2021 first puck drop to start play. “We have interviewed several consulting firms to assist us with brand development. That process will create some momentum for us as we begin the commissioner search process. I am confident that the Central Collegiate Hockey Association commissionership presents an incredible opportunity. We will find the right person and have them ready to start leading this group by July 1.”
We’re probably not done yet. Since day one, we’ve heard rumblings about this day coming. Second, hockey fans can romanticize about the days of the CCHA, but without Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State, it’s not the same conference. That’s why I am shocked that these seven schools didn’t come up with their own brand. In fact, not coming up with a new brand appears lazy and uncreative. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Links to the Story
MEN’S HOCKEY: CCHA name revived for new league including Bemidji State
‘What’s old is new’: Hockey conference to be called CCHA
Seven NCAA hockey schools leaving WCHA rebranding themselves as new CCHA conference
CCHA will be new name for seven teams leaving WCHA in 2021-22
New League Brands Itself as CCHA