Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Notre Dame to join Hockey East?

Notre Dame joining Hockey East never made much sense to me or that many people who could look at how unrealistic the logistics were with the added travel and odd number of teams if Notre Dame was added(11). Well it is becoming closer and closer to a reality as ND head coach Jeff Jackson said Monday that it was down to Hockey East and the newly former NCHC. Notre Dame and Bowling Green(who has until October 7th to join the WCHA) are the only schools who have failed to declare a conference affiliation for the 2013-2014 season. This has forced HE to hold off on beginning to make the schedule for the 2013-2014 season when it would already be in the works. Notre Dame seems destined to make a decision too so many are asking what will Hockey East do if it does add ND? There will then be 11 teams. Today, at the HE media day, the HE commissioner answered some of those questions. The commissioner said that if ND joins, then HE would be open to a 12th team. The early leaders for this spot would be RPI, Quinnipiac, and UCONN. RPI makes the most sense as they come from the ECAC and have been top of the conference for a good amount of time now. Quinnipiac also makes sense while UCONN would need to increase scholarships from 12 to 18 and upgrade their facility as well to appeal to Hockey East. We will see in the coming days how this unfolds at the end of conference realignment along with the validity of the rumors that Buffalo will go Division 1 once again(dropped in 1988). The rumor is fueled behind the idea that Bruins owner and Buffalo alum Jeremy Jacobs will fund the new team so I would say I am conservative at best about these odds.
Notre Dame would certainly bring alot to Hockey East and make it much easier for the conference to get TV deals and national exposure while also instantly creating rivalries with BC(the battle of the relevant catholic schools- sorry PC), BU and UNH(after thier NCAA tournament game last year in the regional final). I already hate ND in all other sports so if they join HE it will certainly get even more interesting around October trying to predict the winner of HE. That along with increasing the non-league schedule to 12 games from 7 will only help the teams throughout the country schedule the games everyone wants to see. (BU, BC vs North Dakota, Denver, Wisconsin etc)

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