Michigan Technological University and six other hockey programs have submitted paperwork to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, notifying the organization of their plans to leave the conference.
The seven schools plan to organize a new hockey conference, which would begin play in the 2021-2022 season. They would remain members of the WCHA until that time. The other schools involved are Northern Michigan University, Lake Superior State University, Ferris State University, Bemidji State University, Bowling Green State University, and Minnesota State University.
The group has engaged consultant Morris Kurtz to help organize the new league. In a press release, Kurtz noted that the primary goal of the new league will be “a focus on improving regional alignment and the overall student-athlete experience while building natural rivalries within a more compact geographic footprint.” Notably absent from the new organization are WCHA members the University of Alabama-Huntsville, the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, and the University of Alaska-Anchorage. They will be the only three remaining WCHA men’s hockey programs.
Kurtz said that there will be no more further comment from his office, or the universities involved, during the initial development phase of the new league.
WCHA President Bill Robertson issued a short statement, confirming that the schools have filed for withdrawal, and saying, “While this news is disappointing, the WCHA will work to assure that any members that do withdraw do so in accordance with WCHA Bylaws.”
Michigan Tech was a charter member of what was then called the Midwest Collegiate Hockey League when it was formed in 1951. The Huskies have played most seasons in the league since that time – the exceptions being the 1958-1959 season, during which the league suspended operation, and three seasons in the early 1980s, in which they were members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
MTU also is the custodian of the MacNaughton Cup, which traditionally has been awarded to the WCHA regular-season champion. Presumably, the Cup will follow the Huskies to the new conference.