Big Ten ice hockey more likely than 12th team The Enlightened Spartan: Big Ten ice hockey more likely than 12th team

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Big Ten ice hockey more likely than 12th team

Adam Rittenberg writes in today's ESPN blog that Big Ten conference commissioner Jim Delaney may be asked by several coaches and athletic directors to investigate bringing a 12th team into the Big Ten. Said Alvarez, ""I just think everybody feels [expansion] is the direction to go, coaches and administrators... We're irrelevant for the last three weeks of the football season because we're not playing."

Here we go again - a one-sport athletic director (and former successful football coach) looking at the Big Ten with his blinders on, and not looking at the implications of adding a 12th team from the perspective of other sports... and the cost implications to other sports. Rittenberg quotes Delaney: ""There are a lot [of schools] that could take a lot away, but there aren't a lot that could bring so much to make the choice an easy one. You have to have a lot to make something go like this, and it's broader than really a championship game or a basketball tournament."

Don't get me wrong, coaches may make a push. But there are few AAU member schools that are within the geographic region to even consider it feasible to the Big Ten. Notre Dame is not an AAU member school; Pittsburgh, Iowa State, and Missouri, however, are AAU members.


However, Penn State is constructing a new hockey arena and is considering a move of its men's ice hockey team to Division I status. And, the ES has been privy to conversations that several Big Ten athletic directors have discussed creating a league for men's ice hockey in the Big Ten. This is also mentioned at MVN's "State of Hockey News." It is a complicated scenario because of the long standing agreements and history with the WCHA and CCHA... but this possibility has real legs now with Penn State moving forward on its hockey arena, and with the addition of many hockey games on the Big Ten Network (and remember, in 2001, Michigan State's Ryan Miller was named Big Ten athlete of the year in Ice Hockey, even the the conference did not sponsor the sport). The Big Ten really wants ice hockey, and only needs a sixth member competing in the sport to make it a reality.

The addition of Penn State is a natural, with the addition of a sixth team to CCHA's Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and WCHA's Minnesota and Wisconsin. Of course, if Notre Dame (CCHA) were to join the Big Ten as a full member, then the league would already have the six qualifying members.... but we all know ND is too full of itself to join the Big Ten in football, so the addition of Joe Pa into ice hockey fills the void nicely.

Hockey is an extremely expensive sport, and with the federal law that will require arenas (like Munn Ice Arena) to replace their R22 refrigerant units by 2015, well PSU can construct its facility with ozone-friendly refrigerant in mind, thus absorbing the cost at the front end.

Big Ten hockey? This will happen folks. It is just a matter of time. It is one helluva lot more likely than adding a 12th team to the conference.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, MSU does not want anything to do with a Big Ten Hockey League. They would consistently fall in the bottom half. Olivia say's hi by the way ; )

    On Wisconsin!