First off, here are the updated standing, the only movement of note is Michigan and MSU swapping spots after Michigan took both head to head games last week.
On to thoughts of any possible future growth of the hockey conference.
I was thinking the other day about the league and it's possible need to expand down the road. I know other B1G schools are closely watching how PSU's new program develops and the overall popularity of B1G hockey at the schools that are currently participating.
These are just some ideas I had, nothing here is based on any "inside info", just opinion and wishes. And honestly, who among us as B1G fans doesn't like a good expansion debate? Keep in mind, this is just fun discussion, I have not really taken Title IX into account.
I figure I would break this into four groups, existing B1G schools, other schools with D1 teams, schools with DIII or club programs going D1, and lastly, real outside the box possibilities.
B1G schools without hockey programs.
Illinois : Long time power house team in the club ranks (ACHA), sitting in a state that hockey is very popular and they used to be a big rival of PSU, back in PSU's club days. Not every school has a wealthy hockey loving benefactor, but I think if Illinois decided to do it, it would in the end be a great success. (OK, Illinois can have 1 nice thing, but just 1)
Nebraska : They have the capability of having a rink in their fancy new digs, plus hockey enjoys a good amount of popularity in the state in general. I have no doubt that the Big Red faithful would get out there and support the team. (Might have to not refer to them as, "The Big Red", Cornell a very traditional hockey school might high stick that idea)
Northwestern : Again, the Chicago area, big hockey town, I think there would be support from the students and non-student area hockey fans. There are many smaller, private, highly regarded schools that have successful well supported hockey teams, and Northwestern fits that mold well. I'd love to see it. (I once played in a tourney for the Kellogg school of business' team when my brother was a student there because they were short for players. We were not good)
Iowa : I think there would be interest there on campus and the game isn't foreign at all in the state. It isn't wildly popular either, but I could see the fine people of Iowa coming around. In reality, it's a long shot, I just don't see them as the school that steps up and becomes the B1G's next program. (I do think their logo and school colors would make for some outstanding hockey jerseys)
Indiana : I think Indiana would be as likely to start a hockey program as Purdue.
Purdue : See Indiana
Maryland : Cash strapped Maryland, it's not happening.
Rutgers : I could see Rutgers start a program one day. NY/NJ loves their hockey. It would work but I just don't know if they have any interest at all. Plus with some recent upheaval in their athletic department, and a move to the B1G, it just wouldn't be on their radar yet.
Non B1G schools as possible associate hockey only members with DIII or club teams
I know some people don't like the idea of associate members, but we already have Johns Hopkins ready to join for LAX, so why not explore the hockey possibilities?
The University of Buffalo : They do meet the AAU school criteria, it's a great hockey town that would draw fans from both sides of the border. The school is trying to up it's profile in football, why not?
Syracuse University : Just another school I felt like throwing out there. Their women's team went DI a few years ago, so the athletic department has the sport well on it's radar, and like Buffalo, Syracuse is a known hockey area.
Lindenwood University ; A St. Louis area private university. They are another club hockey powerhouse who won the national club championships in 2009 and 2010. They too just had their women's team go full DI and pride themselves as a great little club hockey school. I actually think this could be a real possibility...
Ohio University : Yet again another school that has enjoyed a long history of success and support at the club level.
Pitt : Great hockey town, and knowing Pitt, they'd probably want to play their games in the Penguins arena.
Maybe someone from the Philly area : If Penn ever resurrected their long dormant program, they would more than likely join their Ivy brothers in the ECAC, so that leaves Temple, Villanova, St. Joe's and DrexelI don't really see it.
Navy : They do fall into the new B1G footprint, they have had a club team forever and Army and Air Force both have DI teams so they might work. I have also seen their rink, it's not huge, but it's very nice and right on campus.
This next grouping, Is my least favorite, the poach group. Bringing a team or teams that already exist at the DI level from another conference. Sadly now that PSU is in the B1G and Alabama Huntsville joined the WCHA there are no independent teams to extend an invitation to. I'm not going to list individual schools, but there are teams in other conferences in all the current B1G hockey states, with the exception of Wisconsin. There is also the Atlantic Hockey conference that has a lot of teams, tied with the ECAC with the most at 12. They also probably have the most travel, from the east coast to the great lakes and out to Colorado. There are possibilities to poach, but I much rather see new teams introduced by schools that start a DI program from scratch.
This leaves the last group of options.........
The Way outside the box group :
You now this is coming from me
The University of Toronto and McGill University (Montreal) : These are probably Canada's most B1G-esque schools. Both are AAU members and are large schools with big endowments. These two would have to start offering scholarships for hockey (Canada does not have athletic scholarships), but both have great rinks and it's not like hockey wouldn't be supported. And, I'm not sure, but I don't think Title IX would come into play. Also, UofT's old barn, Varsity Arena, can really get rocking. It's a really fun place to watch a game. There are other Canadian schools that would work, but these two would be the best bet.
If your team comes up to play UofT, you can stay at my place , and yes you CAN hang out on my lawn. Do you hear that Ted?
Again, these are just my thoughts, and I know I missed mentioning a few viable options. If you have any other ideas, let's hear them.
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