Miami “may be serious” about leaving the NCHC in favor of the CCHA, College Hockey News reported on Friday, and according to the website, the league is considering adding Arizona State to replace the RedHawks.
MU has finished last in the eight-team league three seasons in a row and is 12-54-6 (.208) in conference play during that span. The RedHawks have not won a playoff series since 2015 and are 1-13 in postseason play since.
The current coaching staff feels the NCHC isn’t the right fit for Miami, and the MU athletic department is struggling financially. The exit fee for leaving the league is over $1 million, and CHN suggests the league should waive that penalty if Arizona State replaces Miami.
The CHN article, written by long-time managing editor Adam Wodon, speculated that the NCHC could also play with nine teams if it adds Arizona State and Miami is unable to find another suitor.
The RedHawks joined the CCHA in 1980 and played in that league until it disbanded in 2013. Miami has played in the NCHC since, winning a league title in 2015, but MU has not advanced to the Frozen Faceoff since.
The CCHA was resurrected in 2021 and consists of eight teams: Ferris State, Bowling Green, Minnesota St., Bemidji State, Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan, St. Thomas and Michigan Tech. Augustana is adding Division I hockey and will be a full league member in 2025, so the timing could work out for Miami to make the jump for that season, keeping the league at an even number of teams.
Chris Bergeron coached at Bowling Green for nine seasons prior to taking over at Miami in 2019. Former RedHawks coach Enrico Blasi is head coach at St. Thomas.
Proponents of switching leagues have cited lower travel costs and Miami’s competitive imbalance vs. the rest of the NCHC. The move would cut out multiple expensive flights, although the CCHA has two teams in the western Upper Peninsula, three in Minnesota and newcomer Augustana, which is in South Dakota.
A Division I-wide conference overhaul is expected in the coming years as the NCAA moves away from single-sport conferences like the CCHA and NCHC due to the increasing resources required to handle compliance.
The Summit League — run by former Miami hockey director of hockey operations and ex-NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton — is one potential option for the RedHawks if they find themselves needing to join a conference. Another possibility being floated is the Mid-American Conference adding hockey. Bowling Green and Western Michigan are MAC members.
A link to the College Hockey News story: https://www.collegehockeynews.com/news/2023/04/21_NCHC-Should-Do-the-Right-.php