NCAA Hockey: The Ultimate College Hockey Conference
The college hockey fanbase has been rocked with the news of the formation of new conferences. The creation of the Big Ten and National College Hockey Conference have effectively destroyed the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
With all the realignment in college sports, I figured I'd try creating a college hockey "superconference." I will try to create the ideal mix of national powers with programs on the rise, while trying to maintain some traditional rivalries.
Here it goes...
The Redhawks have appeared in seven of the last eight NCAA tournaments. This run has included two CCHA regular-season championships, two Frozen Four appearances and a loss to Boston University in the 2009 NCAA Championship.
Miami is the primary example of a college hockey program on the rise. This spring, forward Andy Miele won the program's first Hobey Baker Award.
The Redhawks seem to be on the cusp of winning their first NCAA Championship.
Honorable Mention (applying for admission): Lake Superior State, Harvard, Cornell, Michigan Tech, Minnesota-Duluth, Colorado College and RPI
Boston University Terriers
Boston University has won five National Championships in the program's storied past, the most recent being in 2009.
The Terriers have won 14 regular-season conference championships and have had two Hobey Baker winners—most recently, Matt Gilroy in 2009.
BU is also known for its large presence on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team and their great rivalry with Minnesota during that same time period.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minnesota is arguably the most recognizable college hockey program in the country; an easy selection to join my super conference.
The Gophers have won five NCAA championships, three under legendary coach Herb Brooks (pictured).
Home to four Hobey Baker winners, the Gophers have elite talent every year. This talent was displayed best on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team.
Minnesota is currently in a bit of a dry spell, but don't expect it to last long.
North Dakota Fighting Sioux
North Dakota has been the most consistently excellent program in college hockey in recent memory. The storied program has won seven National Championships.
The home of the Sioux, Ralph Engelstad Arena is arguably the nicest college hockey venue in the country.
Denver University Pioneers
Another traditional power, Denver has also won seven National Championships, the most recent being back-to-back championships in 2004 and 2005.
The program has been revived by head coach George Gwozdecky, one of the elite coaches in the country.
Boston College Eagles
Boston College has been the most successful program in the country since the turn of the century. The Eagles have four National Championships in the history of the program, including wins in 2001, 2008 and 2010.
Their recent success has also included five conference championships since 2001.
Natural rivals of Boston University and postseason rivals with North Dakota and Wisconsin (recently), BC is an easy inclusion.
The Badgers have amassed six National Championships in the program's history, most recently, a win in 2006 and a loss to Boston College in the 2010 title game.
Madison, Wisc. is considered to be one of the best college sports towns in the country. It's always a party in Madison. Badger hockey benefits from the large fan support, as Wisconsin leads the country in hockey attendance every year; the superconference could benefit from the Badgers' fanbase.
Natural rivals with Minnesota and North Dakota, another easy choice for the superconference.
Maine Black Bears
Maine has won two National Championships and is a constant threat to win the Hockey East crown.
Since 2000, Maine has appeared in five Frozen Fours. Although in a bit of a drought lately, Maine will turn it around.
New Hampshire Wildcats
Although New Hampshire has never captured an NCAA title, they still deserve to be in my superconference.
The Wildcats have appeared in every NCAA tournament since 1997 except for 2001. During that same span, UNH won seven regular-season conference championships and appeared in four Frozen Fours.
UNH may be the best program in the country without a NCAA Championship.
Michigan State Spartans
Spartan basketball often overshadows Michigan State's success in hockey.
The Spartans have won three National Championships, appeared in nine Frozen Fours and 23 NCAA tournaments.
Their most recent championship came in 2007.
The most successful college hockey program of all time, Michigan has won a record nine NCAA Championships.
A consistent winner, Michigan has appeared in the last 21 NCAA tournaments (that goes all the way back to 1991).
It's hard to have a superconference with the best program. Michigan is the easiest choice for admission.