Home > CCHA, CHA > The End Of Huntsville?

The End Of Huntsville?

The CCHA made a pretty surprising decision today, denying Alabama-Huntsville admission into the league. UAH will now be the only CHA team without a home when the league disbands. Niagara and Robert Morris will be absorbed into Atlantic Hockey, while Bemidji State will be in the WCHA. I, for one, am shocked. Think abou tthe “little guys” that were the foundation of the CCHA: Lake State, Ferris State, Northern Michigan, Bowling Green, etc. Now, the CCHA has decided they are too good for another little school in UAH. With Nebraska-Omaha moving to the WCHA, UAH seems a perfect replacement. For example, from Huntsville to Ann Arbor, Michigan it is 10 hours and 2 minutes (via Google Maps). From Omaha to Ann Arbor it is 10 hours and 36 minutes. And Huntsville is significantly closer to Miami and Ohio State. Huntsville would likely have no problem drawing fans, as Alabama is football country and everyone knows of Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

Huntsville had tradition at the Division 2 level, and has had success in its infancy at Division 1. They won the CHA championship in 2007 and gave Notre Dame a run for its money in the first round of that NCAA Tournament.

CCHA bylaws required 9 of 11 members to vote yes (Omaha wasn’t allowed a vote) and it appears enough of the “little guys” said no. On the surface, I don’t have a huge problem with the big boys saying no. After all, they’re in the cat bird’s seat. Still, the little guys should have stepped up. Fairbanks, a place no one wants to go to, said no, citing a “lack of commitment.” Really? Huntsville has had to survive playing DII hockey, in Alabama. Not in Alaska, where it may be far flung but at least it’s cold and a traditional hockey market. Alabama. Huntsville was also a founding member of College Hockey America. Bowling Green, which just got funding for their arena, looks like they are a decent bet to still be in the league. So the CCHA will be an 11 team league, and Huntsville will be out in the cold.

Alaska AD Forrest Karr said “I hope this is not a death sentence for them, and I hope it’s not the end of their program. The last thing anyone wants to see is the loss of any Division I college hockey program.” That’s like President Truman voting not to send troops to liberate Europe, but saying he hopes the Holocaust ends.

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  1. August 13, 2009 at 12:15 pm | #1

    The CCHA owes more to the game than just saying they need to protect their members. Why isn’t Alaska in the WCHA with UA-Anchorage? Wouldn’t it be in the best interest of student athletes if those two schools had a relatively short flight every now and then for a conference game on the road? When the CCHA founders broke from Minnesota, UMD, DU, North Dakota, Wisconsin and CC back ( http://tinyurl.com/o34uhf ), they built their new league by taking in programs that needed a conference format within which to grow. Adding Huntsville would help the D-I game and enhance the conference. Too bad for Huntsville and for the D-I game.

  2. August 15, 2009 at 7:20 am | #2

    That’s a poor decision on the part of the CCHA; Alabama-Huntsville has had hockey for quite some time, as has the city of Huntsville, so I’m not sure I understand the “lack of commitment” statement on the part of Alaska-Fairbanks.

    Also not sure I get the notion of the CCHA “protecting its members” by denying entry to UAH. How does the league “protect its members” by not expanding to a market where, chances are, they’ll do well, and to a market that is well within the geographical footprint of the league… as opposed to, oh, say, Alaska-Fairbanks?

  3. August 19, 2009 at 4:34 pm | #3

    I’m no fan of UAF but I think you’ve misinterpreted Forrest Karr’s comments. I believe he was just trying to be a messenger for the league. A day later he expressed his (and his schools feelings) that he fully supported UAH and would like to see them in the CCHA.

    As to why UAA and UAF aren’t in the same conference? Nobody wants to travel to Alaska twice a season. Even though both Alaska schools travel to their opponents 7, 8 or even 9 times a year. Keeping them separate also deny’s them the a provincial voting block akin to the Minnesota Cabal or the Michigan Cabal.

  4. September 2, 2009 at 3:51 am | #4

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

  1. August 13, 2009 at 3:58 pm | #1
  2. August 13, 2009 at 5:10 pm | #2
  3. August 13, 2009 at 6:01 pm | #3
  4. August 13, 2009 at 10:24 pm | #4

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