NMU Hockey Pursing WCHA Membership Again

If Northern Michigan University\’s president gets his way, the hockey Wildcats will be conference rivals of Michigan Tech once again in 2013.
NMU\’s Board of Trustees has approved Dr. Les Wong\’s request to pursue membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
NMU plays in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association at the moment.
Dr. Wong says he and other university officials have considered a move since March, when the Big Ten announced it would start playing hockey 2 years from now.
The process has picked up steam since rumors started flying about the newly-formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
The creation of the new leagues means the CCHA and the WCHA are losing members.
Dr. Wong says NMU presents advantages to the WCHA that other potential new member schools do not, and he says he intends to make a hard sell of those advantages to the league.
One of those advantages is that NMU has been a WCHA member in the past.
In the \’90s, NMU left the WCHA for the CCHA because at that time, NMU as an institution was more similar to the downstate CCHA schools than the WCHA ones.
It was also believed that making itself a conference rival of Michigan and Michigan State would help the program\’s visibility.
But Dr. Wong says NMU has changed to a more regional nature.
He says the campus is now much more similar to those of the WCHA schools than it is to the remaining downstate CCHA members like Ferris State or Western Michigan.
He says besides academic similarities, the remaining WCHA members are, like NMU, NCAA Division II schools for every sport they play other than hockey.
The athletic directors of the 5 remaining WCHA schools — including Michigan Tech — are having a meeting tomorrow.
They may be extending membership to a 6th school, but nothing is official yet.