When Penn State announced they were going to field a D1 hockey team, it was clear that the college hockey landscape was about to change. And that change has been going all summer. But up until now, it has stayed out west. Hockey East looked like they would stick with what they have.
But a falling out over TV contracts has reportedly caused the new National Hockey Conference to decide it doesn’t want Notre Dame, which will lead them to join Hockey East. The announcement is expected to come Wednesday.
If ND is to join, that will put Hockey East at an awkward 11 teams. So they will need 1 more. RPI, UConn and Holy Cross have all been mentioned as possible options.
So what does this mean for Hockey East?
First and foremost, it means that the 27 game conference schedule will be changed to a 22 game schedule with only 2 games against each team. This will however open more room for nonconference games.
The addition of Notre Dame, like all conference realignment, is about the almighty dollar. Hockey East had a great thing going. They didn’t need Notre Dame. They already had a competitive conference with some big name teams. This move was about getting a better TV deal. This move will benefit the image of the conference, but it will also make it harder for the smaller schools to make noise.
It remains to be seen how the new conference layout affects the NCAA tournament field, but you have to imagine adding a team like ND will make it that much harder for a team like Merrimack or Vermont to make it into the tournament like they have in recent years.
I understand the positives from this move, but I am not a fan. I think Hockey East was great the way it was and they should have just sat on the sideline and stayed out of the realignment mess.
Plus having one BC is bad enough. We don’t need another one.