Miami has become increasingly vocal about its desire to leave the NCHC in favor of the CCHA, largely due to soaring travel costs.

But even if the RedHawks get their wish (and for the record, VFTG still thinks remaining in the NCHC is the best long-term move for the program), the revived conference that Miami played in for 33 seasons now has three members in Minnesota and two in the western portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Other sports break conference schools into divisions to control travel expenses, so why not hockey?

Let’s assume Western Michigan — which is hemorrhaging money as badly or worse than Miami — also shifts to the CCHA.

Here’s how a divisional structure could look:

Bemidji State
Michigan Tech
Minnesota State
Northern Michigan
St. Thomas
Bowling Green
Ferris State
Lake Superior State
Western Michigan

Teams play four games against each divisional foe and two vs. opponents in the opposite division for a 26-game league schedule.

The longest trip in the South would be 8:20 (Miami to Lake Superior State). In the North, the farthest divisional foes (Minnesota State to Northern Michigan) are 8:48 apart.

Complicating things is the addition of Augustana, a Sioux Falls, S.D., program which begins play this fall and becomes a full member in 2025. Also, Western Michigan has shown no desire to leave the NCHC and is geographically closer to all of its current league counterparts.

St. Louis-based Lindenwood, which Miami is slated to play in the coming years, is also seeking a league, and of course imminent restructuring as one-sport leagues are phased out may also shake up the college hockey landscape (although it’s sounding more like the current clusters may remain somewhat intact albeit under a different league name).

But we just wanted to lay out a framework for how a divisional structure within the league could work should Miami end up back in the CCHA.


4 thoughts on “Divisions Would Cut Travel Costs

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