I have written and re-written this post many times. In my head. Because I knew it was coming.
After raving about the wonders of the WCHA, I looked at my Google homepage’s College Hockey News from CHN tab and paged through this morning’s paper (which I read after a 12-hour work day) to find that my the Gophs are leaving.
Leaving the best conference in D1 college hockey. For the Big Ten.
Of course, I love how reporters, ADs, coaches, etc. keep “announcing” that the Gophers and Wisconsin are “leaving” the WCHA and that the Big Ten is a Big Go (2012-13) and then ending every article with, “but nothing’s set in stone” comments.
Make up your mind already because I can’t take the roller coaster of emotions.
And mixed emotions is putting it lightly. Already I’m drafting a pro/con list in my head – hoping to jot it all out on my new Knock Knock pro/con notepad I purchase from West Elm. And believe me, if by some slight chance Mark Johnson, who just won a National Championship and boasts of this year’s Patty winner gets wooed into the allure of a men’s D1 program @ Penn State – the cons will rock the college hockey world – for both genders.
I’m confidently cocky that the cons will win.
Lucia’s optimism in today’s paper was kind of reassuring though. A good reminder. A very run-of-the-mill-coach-like reminder.
Change can be a good thing. Change is necessary.
Change takes time to prove itself worthwhile.
Before you go all Smash Mouth “we could all use a little change” on me, hold up.
Tied like a weight around change’s waist, is fear.
Fear of losing the rivalry between arch rivals. Fear of the level of Big Ten play turning out to be weak – the players – Pansies. Fear of ignorant refs (not like the WCHA is free of them) who whistle down every single check into the boards as boarding or a check from behind because the other teams (WI, MI, and MI State excluded) can’t hack it or don’t know how to throw a check if their life depended on it. Fear of other conferences suffering. Fear of lack of support for Big Ten hockey. Fear of players not wanting to play in the Big Ten league. Fear of the WCHA losing two of the best (not necessarily points wise or player wise right now) college hockey teams in the country – steeped in tradition (that would be the Badgers and Gophers).
But optimistically I think that fear and change can messily co-exist and result in a new start, and hopefully, the exposure and expansion of college hockey, U.S. hockey, and hockey overall.
Unfortunately, if that outcome is not realized in the years to come, then many people will question this Big move.
Looks like I have some more head-writing to do before this story is over.
I ask. You answer.
- Big Ten hockey – thumbs up or thumbs down?
- Who should coach Penn State men’s hockey?
- Would you like to see the Gophers and Badgers continue to face current rivals (UND, UMD, SCSU, BSU, etc.)?
- Do you think it will be easier or harder for coaches to recruit boys to play hockey in the Big Ten Conference?
- What other schools should join the Big Ten?