It's the end of the WCHA Final Five as we know it

  • Article by: Rachel Blount , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 21, 2013 - 12:01 AM

Sadness prevails over the Final Five losing some of its luster and longtime teams with the WCHA’s transformation next season.

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wesleyMar. 21, 13 5:49 AM

SAD

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goodguy49Mar. 21, 13 7:07 AM

Go Gophers!

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crazyhorse89Mar. 21, 13 7:16 AM

This makes me depressed. Why screw up a great thing? Oh yeah, money, thats why.

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ericgus55Mar. 21, 13 8:25 AM

Things have always changed. The way it's shaking out next year, it's almost like there's the A Division (the new Big Ten), the B Division (the NCHC), and the C Division (new WCHA). Personally, as a Gophers fan who lives in Duluth, I'm fine with it. Yes, the rivalries we'll be losing were good, but the teams we'll be playing against are already our rivals in every other sport, so it will be fine. I will still get to see UMD play the other good teams from the current WCHA (UND, CC, SCSU, Denver) and I won't be forced to pretend that Bemidji, Mankato, etc. are Gopher's "rivals" anymore. I would like to see a yearly series with North Dakota, but that will come (would have come sooner if not for Sioux stubbornness).

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ericgus55Mar. 21, 13 9:14 AM

Sorry, let me clarify. The "Sioux stubbornness" I referred to which should be primarily called "Englestad family stubbornness over the Sioux nickname." If it weren't for them, the fact that they own the arena (which they rent to UND), their desire to honor Ralph Englestad's "Sioux forever" wish (and his insistence to put the logo everywhere in the arena), and their ongoing political clout ($$$) in North Dakota politics, the nickname would have changed years ago.

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meade55Mar. 21, 13 9:30 AM

The NCHC is the B division? As of right now, we have 5 teams headed for the NCAA tourney and the Big Ten has 1, maybe 2 if they get lucky. Sounds like the Big Ten is the B division.

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yardboyMar. 21, 1310:28 AM

From a personal standpoint I hated to hear that the Big 10 was starting their own hockey league but I get it, it does make sense. But this NCHC league makes no sense. It is a bad deal for the fans and I am disappointed that Mankato and Bemidji are being left behind in the WCHA.

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ericgus55Mar. 21, 1310:29 AM

meade55 - I'd call the NCHC the B Division because most (all?) of the schools are D1 in hockey only. The Big Ten is Division 1 all the way across the board (bigger schools, bigger budgets, more national exposure, their own TV network). This year, yes, the NCHC-headed teams do look stronger (I'm not so sure on your tourney count, though). Over time, we'll see. Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State never stay down for long. With all of the money being pumped into Penn State and the emergence of Western PA as a hockey hotbed, they won't stay bad for long either. Once the two biggest schools (MN and WI) leave, the recruiting pitch for NCHC schools becomes a little tougher, and the schools in the new WCHA are going to have an even tougher time getting top-flight recruits. Right now, one of the pitches for recruits to the smaller schools is that they get to play against MN, WI, and UND. Recruiting for Mankato, Omaha, St. Cloud, etc. isn't going to get any easier. On another note, I can't understand why Air Force isn't joining the other Colorado schools in the NCHC.

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mnewinskiMar. 21, 1310:51 AM

To hear or read any coach in the future NCHC lament the end of this great tournament is disingenuous at best. It would be refreshing if Motzko just came out and said what really believes - that St. Cloud got what they needed out of the WCHA and they don’t care if the Bemidji’s or Minnesota State’s are granted the same opportunity. St. Cloud would not be where it is today without UM and UND coming to their buildings. Good luck to the Minnesota St. this weekend. It would be great to see them and UM in the championship as it is evident Lucia and the U still feel some responsibility to support college hockey in this state. For that I have a new found respect for Lucia. As far as the “National”, have fun playing in the Target Center. If you haven’t been there in awhile, it isn’t the X. You would be better off playing in Grand Forks. Oh wait, that’s right the D1 Men’s College Hockey Team Representing the State of North Dakota can never host a NCAA event in that building ever again.

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hockeybiasMar. 21, 1311:20 AM

Please, for the time being anyway, refer to the conference the Gophers are going to be in next year as the 'Medium 6'. ...There is nothing 'big' about it at this point. ugh.

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