Friday, June 26, 2009

Mavs Make the Jump to the WCHA

The only surprise about UNO leaving the CCHA for the WCHA is that the entire deal was completed today. Before today, it seemed that it was going to be a process that would take a few weeks, but once the parameters of an agreement between UNO and the WCHA were complete, there probably was little reason to drag the process out. In fact, perhaps Trev Alberts pushed to get the whole deal completed immediately so that there were no opportunities for "surprises" down the line.

The winners in this deal are obvious: college hockey gains by keeping Bemidji State's program alive. The WCHA gets bigger, and probably will earn more revenue with more rounds of playoff hockey. UNO reduces their travel costs and gets to share in the larger pool of revenue that the WCHA affords.

The loser? The CCHA loses UNO and the playoff revenue that is generated in Omaha. The CCHA will likely get the consolation prize of Alabama-Huntsville, but the unhappiness of the CCHA is clear from their terse news release.

That's not intended to criticize the CCHA in this situation. The CCHA jumped in and gave UNO a home when the WCHA previously rejected them. UNO fans should be very appreciative of the CCHA and their years of membership. But in this situation, the right thing for everyone is for UNO to make the move. It accomodates Bemidji and Alabama-Huntsville, keeping those programs viable, and discourages the NCAA from downsizing the NCAA tournament.

So a whirlwind couple of months for UNO hockey seems to be winding down. Trev Alberts is hired. Mike Kemp becomes his assistant athletic director. Two-time national champion coach Dean Blais takes over for Kemp. UNO bolts the CCHA for the WCHA. And now there's discussions that in his spare time (!), Alberts also renegotiated the Mavs lease with the Qwest Center.

Whew. What a ride.

(A special shout-out to Goon's World, who has been on top of this situation from the WCHA side of things.)

No comments: