He’s Back, is the Big Ten Hockey Conference Expanding?

Are You Ready

I follow the Twitter account of Greg Flugaur and in the past, some of his predictions have come to fruition, obviously, the last rumor about the University of North Dakota Men’s hockey team joining the Big Ten Hockey Conference fell flat.

He’s back, Flugaur posted a rumor that the B1G is considering adding UND as an affiliate member. Apparently, they’re also considering adding the Unversity of Minnesota Duluth.

Apparently, Flugaur knows someone up high in the Big Ten’s presidential committee. You hear rumors all of the time, but most of them kind of fizzle and burn out. This may happen again. Yes, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the college hockey world. No one knows exactly what’s going to happen next.

Why wouldn’t the Big Ten Hockey Conference want to expand? Seven teams are an odd number. But who would be a candidate to join them? The rumor in question is behind a paywall. I’ll post a few of the main points. If you want to read the whole thing, you’re going to have to spend the $9.95 like I did. 

There is a segment of the Big Ten Hockey community which are mounting up on their saddles and coming together to push forward the option of North Dakota becoming school 8 or 9 in the Big Ten Hockey Conference. This segment includes the University of Minnesota.

Before we read the next snippet, there’s nothing new here. This information has been all over the internet, and in the newspapers, this isn’t earth-shattering information. Yes, the University of North Dakota could use an infusion of cash. Most of the schools in the Summit Leauge and NCHC could probably use some extra money. Even the University of Michigan is experiencing a budget shortfall during the next year. 

They (UND) are desperate. They need to lift their ceilings in potential earnings in their Athletic Department. They need to lift their value to their paying sponsorships….to their Media partners….everything. The NCHC is a fantastic hockey conference. But the bottom line is the bottom line and money = opportunities…and opportunities at the University of North Dakota for their student-athletes are shrinking.

*Look for the timeline of the courtship between Big Ten Conference and the University of North Dakota to conclude in the next 12 months.

*Keep an eye on the University of Minnesota-Duluth as another potential affiliate member if Big Ten and North Dakota actually do marry after courtship. (There is independent steam)

*Commissioner Kevin Warren wants Big Ten Expansion in Hockey. Warren is going to get his Expansion in Hockey. Who will it be? North Dakota who would help sell tickets, advertising space..etc..is at the top of the list of options.

All we can do is wait. We’ll see how this shakes out. I’ll pick around and see what I can find out. Remember, if UND were to leave the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, there’s a 1.5-2 million dollar exit fee. I keep hearing how if the alumni wanted to move to the Big Ten, they’d come up with the money.

Historically, the NCHC has been the best college hockey conference in college hockey. Since the NCHC was born, UND has developed some great rivalries. UND still plays Wisconsin and Minnesota on a semi-regular basis. What’s the point? Is there that much more money to be made moving to the Big Ten? Would an affiliate member be able to enjoy the financial benefits the other schools get?

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