SCSU joins The National
Thursday, September 22, 2011
In two years St. Cloud State men's hockey will skate in the nation's best conference.
President Earl H. Potter III announced today the St. Cloud State Huskies will join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (The National), an NCAA Division I conference that begins play in the 2013-14 season.
Speaking at a media conference in the university's Welcome Center, Potter said quiet conversations this summer between the founding schools and St. Cloud State revealed a match between the conference's core principals and St. Cloud State's values, commitments and competitive success.
The National is focused on winning programs, a high level of play, a university strategy that recognizes hockey as a premier sport and a commitment to the student part of the student-athlete, according to Potter.
"In the end, after serious study, it was the only decision that seemed right for us," Potter said.
The National will include University of Minnesota-Duluth, University of North Dakota, Denver University, Colorado College and University of Nebraska-Omaha from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).
Miami University, a preseason No. 1 pick, and Western Michigan University (WMU) will join The National from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. WMU and St. Cloud State received invitations Sept. 21.
View a slide show about the new conference (PDF).
Duluth is the defending national champion. North Dakota and Denver have each won seven national titles.
Departing the WCHA for the Big Ten conference in 2013 are the universities of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Potter said he communicated directly with Bruce McLeod, WCHA commissioner, that men's hockey will withdraw at the end of the 2012-13 season. The WCHA has been the Huskies' conference home since 1990.
Also at the media conference were Brian Faison, spokesman for The National, and Bob Motzko, coach of the Huskies.
"We're very excited and honored, frankly, to have St. Cloud as a partner," said Faison, who is the North Dakota athletic director.
"We know that our university is on the verge of going great places right now," said Motzko.
McLeod, in a written media release, said: "No question we are all disappointed by this latest announcement, but on behalf of the entire Association, we want to take this time to wish the Huskies and their men's hockey program all the best in the future."
Since 2000, St. Cloud State men's hockey has ranked among the nation's premier programs, with six All-Americans, seven NCAA playoff bids and seven WCHA Final Five playoff bids.
In that same time period the Huskies had three Hobey Baker Top 10 finalists. The Hobey Baker Award is the Division I men's hockey equivalent of football's Heisman Trophy.
In 2001, the Craig Dahl coached Huskies won a WCHA Final Five championship.