Five UW Teams May Leave NCHA

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Five UW teams may leave NCHA

University of Wisconsin schools playing in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association are expected to announce today they will leave the men’s hockey league following the 2013-14 season.

The five UW schools playing in the NCHA are Eau Claire, River Falls, Stevens Point, Stout and Superior, and they are expected to play hockey in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC).

Such a move would leave St. Norbert College and St. Scholastica as the only remaining members of the NCHA, which was formed in 1980. St. Norbert has dominated NCHA men’s hockey play in recent years.

The UW schools would play exclusively in the WIAC starting with the 2014-15 season. Finances and complications from playing in a single-sport conference are among the reasons for the decision.

The seven current NCHA members have been playing together since the 1996-97 season. An eighth school, Lake Forest, left the conference in 2009.

There is speculation that St. Norbert could become eligible to play hockey in the WIAC, although the school likely would look at other options.

The women’s NCHA would remain intact.

This move is an example of the Hockey Community at nearly every level making moves in order to curb expenses. Similar to the moves of most Junior Hockey Leagues in the United States the regionalization of teams, reduces travel expenses and presents opportunity for long term stability.

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