Six schools yesterday announced the "name and framework for starting up the nation's seventh" college hockey league, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, according to Joe Paisley of the Colorado Springs GAZETTE. Colorado College, Denver, Miami (Ohio), Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota will begin play in the conference in the "fall of 2013." The league has "hired two sports marketing firms to form a nonprofit corporation, help hire a commissioner, research and vet new members, of whom no limit has been set, and develop media deals, including a possible national TV contract." Colorado College AD Ken Ralph said that "no timetable was set for hiring a commissioner." Meanwhile, the "door is open for expansion nationwide." Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais said that an offer "has been extended to Notre Dame, which is also considering Hockey East." Paisley notes a "number of TV networks, including Versus/NBC, have approached the NCHC." Ralph said that the location of the league office "is to be determined," and that Colorado Springs "is a candidate" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 7/14).
PART OF LARGER REALIGNMENT: USA TODAY's Andy Gardiner notes the "trigger for the upcoming realignment was the Big Ten sponsoring men's hockey as a league sport." Minnesota and Wisconsin joined the Big Ten from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State joined from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Penn State also has added hockey, "giving the Big Ten the necessary six schools to form its own conference under NCAA guidelines" (USA TODAY, 7/14). In Alaska, Danny Martin reports ADs from the WCHA's remaining five schools are scheduled to meet tomorrow in Minneapolis to "determine their future." The CCHA and officials from its remaining seven teams "haven't scheduled a meeting but they know something needs to be done before 2013-14" (FAIRBANKS DAILY NEWS-MINER, 7/14). In Minneapolis, Roman Augustoviz notes the WCHA "will stay as it is, at 12 teams," for the next two seasons, and "then will come the realigning and shifting" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/14).