The men's hockey programs from Bemidji State and Minnesota State are among seven schools that formalized plans Monday to leave the WCHA and rebirth a new CCHA conference.
The new Central College Hockey Association will feature BSU and MSU, along with Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan. The conference will launch with the 2021-22 season, leaving the WCHA two years to again reorganize after it was forced to do so in 2013 on the heels of the formation of the Big Ten, which also led to the development of the NCHC.
Last June, athletics consultant Morris Kurtz announced the seven schools' decision to leave was to "focus on improving regional alignment and the overall student-athlete experience while building natural rivalries within a more compact geographic footprint."
The old CCHA dissolved in 2013 after three schools, Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State, departed for the Big Ten.
"After extensive discussion and significant due diligence, it made sense to everyone involved to move in this direction," said Kurtz in a release. "The name conveys the current geographic alignment of our members and the CCHA brand has a tremendous amount of equity and goodwill associated with it.
"What's old is new again and we look forward to refreshing the brand and identity to fully capture the energy and passion of the institutions it represents."
The new conference only impacts men's hockey, so the women's WCHA will not change.
The three programs not leaving the WCHA are Alaska, Alaska-Anchorage and Alabama-Huntsville. None of them are in the same geographic footprint as the other teams located in the Upper Midwest and Ohio Valley.