|Western Collegiate Hockey Association|
|Region||Midwestern United States, Alaska, and Alabama|
|Former names||Midwest Collegiate Hockey League (1951–53)|
Western Intercollegiate Hockey League (1953–58)
|Commissioner||Bill Robertson (men's)|
Jennifer Flowers (women's)
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is a college athletic conference which operates over a wide area of the Midwestern, Western, and Southeastern United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I as an ice hockey-only conference.
WCHA member teams have won a record 36 men's NCAA hockey championships, most recently in 2011 by the Minnesota–Duluth Bulldogs. A WCHA team has also finished as the national runner-up a total of 28 times. WCHA teams also won the first 13 NCAA women's titles, which were first awarded in 2001.
- 1 History
- 2 Members
- 3 Conference arenas
- 4 Awards (Men's)
- 5 National Championships
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The league was founded in 1951 as the Midwest Collegiate Hockey League (MCHL), then was known as the Western Intercollegiate Hockey League (WIHL) until 1958. The 1958–59 season was one of independence for members as a result of recruiting techniques by some teams. The current Western Collegiate Hockey Association was founded for the 1959–60 season. The 2005 NCAA Frozen Four hockey tournament finals were noteworthy when all four teams came from the WCHA.
WCHA teams also won the first 13 NCAA women's titles, which were first awarded in 2001. In 2006, WCHA member Wisconsin was the first school to capture both the men's and women's Division I ice hockey championships in the same season.
On March 22, 2011, Minnesota and Wisconsin announced that their men's teams planned to leave the league in order to form a hockey Big Ten Conference in 2013–14, along with Penn State, which would start a varsity hockey program in 2012–13, and Central Collegiate Hockey Association members Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State.
In response to the creation of the Big Ten men's hockey conference, Denver, Colorado College, North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, Minnesota-Duluth, and St. Cloud State left the WCHA to join Miami University and Western Michigan of the CCHA to create the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Facing membership at 4 teams for the 2013–14 season, the WCHA conference added one of its former members, Northern Michigan of the CCHA, on July 15, 2011.
On August 25, 2011, the WCHA announced that it had invited the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Bowling Green, Ferris State, and Lake Superior State to join beginning in the 2013–14 season. On August 26, 2011, Alaska-Fairbanks, Ferris State, and Lake Superior State accepted their invitations and joined Northern Michigan in the WCHA in 2013. After much deliberation, on October 4, 2011, Bowling Green decided to join the WCHA as well in 2013. On January 17, 2013, the WCHA admitted Alabama–Huntsville to the league, effective in the 2013–14 season.
This realignment activity only affected the men's side of the WCHA. Even after Penn State took the ice with both men's and women's teams, the Big Ten still had only four members with varsity women's hockey (Michigan and Michigan State field only men's teams). This meant that the women's side of the WCHA remained intact for the immediate future.
The next change in the conference membership came shortly after the 2016–17 season, when North Dakota announced that it would drop women's hockey.
During the 2019 offseason, the future of the men's side of the WCHA fell into serious doubt when seven of its 10 members—Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State, and Northern Michigan—notified the WCHA that they would leave the league after the 2020–21 season, potentially forming a new men's hockey conference.
At the same time, the two Alaska teams were facing a crisis following the veto by state governor Mike Dunleavy of over $100 million in funding for the University of Alaska system, a move that was seen as potentially ending intercollegiate athletics entirely at both the Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses. The cuts led the UA system to start the process of consolidating the three-campus system into a single accredited institution (though retaining the existing campuses), with the system president telling local media that a single accreditation would likely lead to the Anchorage and Fairbanks athletic programs being combined into a single program. While both campuses will continue to sponsor men's ice hockey in the 2019–20 season, the future of at least one of the teams beyond that point was seen as uncertain at best.
The WCHA has 15 member schools in all; the men's division operates with 10 members, while the women's division has 7. Only two schools, Bemidji State and Minnesota State, have both men's and women's teams in the conference.
|Bemidji State University||Bemidji, Minnesota||1919||1999 (women)||Public||5,198||Beavers||0||Northern Sun (D-II)|
|University of Minnesota||Minneapolis & Saint Paul, Minnesota||1851||1999 (women)||51,848||Golden Gophers||6||Big Ten|
|University of Minnesota Duluth||Duluth, Minnesota||1947||1999 (women)||11,168||Bulldogs||5||Northern Sun (D-II)|
|Minnesota State University, Mankato||Mankato, Minnesota||1867||1999||14,712||Mavericks||0||Northern Sun (D-II)|
|Ohio State University||Columbus, Ohio||1870||1999||59,837||Buckeyes||0||Big Ten|
|St. Cloud State University||St. Cloud, Minnesota||1869||1999 (women)||14,615||Huskies||0||Northern Sun (D-II)|
|University of Wisconsin–Madison||Madison, Wisconsin||1848||1999 (women)||43,820||Badgers||5||Big Ten|
Former men's members
- Total championships (Championships won while WCHA member)
Former women's member
|University of North Dakota||Grand Forks||North Dakota||2004||2017||Fighting Hawks||Women's||0 (0)||Dropped women's ice hockey|
- Total championships (Championships won while WCHA member)
|School||Men's Arena||Capacity||Women's Arena||Capacity|
|Alaska Anchorage||Wells Fargo Sports Complex||800||—|
|Bemidji State||Sanford Center||4,700||Sanford Center||4,700|
|Bowling Green||Slater Family Ice Arena||5,000||—|
|Ferris State||Robert L. Ewigleben Arena||2,493||—|
|Lake Superior||Taffy Abel Arena||4,000||—|
|Michigan Tech||MacInnes Student Ice Arena||4,466 ||—|
|Minnesota||plays in the Big Ten||Ridder Arena||3,400|
|Minnesota–Duluth||plays in the NCHC||AMSOIL Arena||6,764|
|Minnesota State||Verizon Center||4,832||Verizon Center||4,832|
|Northern Michigan||Berry Events Center||3,902||—|
|Ohio State||plays in the Big Ten||OSU Ice Rink||1,415|
|St. Cloud State||plays in the NCHC||Herb Brooks National Hockey Center||5,763|
|Wisconsin||plays in the Big Ten||LaBahn Arena||2,273|
At the conclusion of each regular season schedule the coaches of each WCHA team vote which players they choose to be on the two to four All-Conference Teams: first team and second team with a rookie team added in 1990–91 and a third team added in 1995–96. Additionally they vote to award up to 5 individual trophies to an eligible player at the same time. The WCHA also awards a Most Valuable Player in Tournament, which is voted on at the conclusion of the conference tournament. Only the Coach of the Year award has been bestowed in each year of the WCHA's existence, making it the oldest continually-awarded conference award in Division I ice hockey.
WCHA schools have won 38 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey National Championships
WCHA schools have won 16 NCAA Women's Ice Hockey National Championships
- Milweski, Todd (June 4, 2019). "WCHA names Jennifer Flowers women's league commissioner". Wisconsin State Journal. Archived from the original on June 4, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
- Stutt, Kurt. "History of the WCHA". USCHO. Archived from the original on 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- "All-Time Championship Tournament records and results" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
- "National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Champions". National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey History. NCAA. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
- Schmoldt, Eric (2006-04-10). "UW's championship celebration continues at rally". The Badger Herald. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
- Julien, Connie (2009). "MacNaughton Cup Winners". CC Hockey History.
- "WCHA Unveils New Playoff Format and Broadmoor Trophy, Welcomes Bemidji State and Nebraska Omaha". Media Center. Western Collegiate Hockey Association. 2010-03-20. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- "Big Ten Officially Announces Hockey Conference". College Hockey News. March 21, 2011. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2011.
- Paisley, Joe (July 9, 2011). "Schools confirm new college hockey 'super league'". Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2011.
- "St. Cloud St., W. Michigan join league". September 22, 2011.
- "WCHA set to add Northern Michigan as sixth member for 2013–14". U.S. College Hockey Online. July 15, 2011. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2011.
- Sipple, George (August 26, 2011). "Ferris State becomes third CCHA team to accept WCHA invitation". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Wagner, John (October 4, 2011). "Falcons make switch to WCHA". Toledo Blade. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
- "WCHA accepts Alabama-Huntsville for 2013-14 season". USCHO.com. January 17, 2013. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- "Deep budget cuts force UND to eliminate three varsity sports" (Press release). North Dakota Fighting Hawks. March 29, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- "Statement Regarding Hockey League Affiliation" (Press release). Bowling Green Falcons. June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
- "7 of 10 WCHA Teams Announce Plans to Leave". College Hockey News. June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 29, 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Bragg, Beth (August 2, 2019). "As University of Alaska moves toward consolidation, two athletic programs might become one". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
- "Tech-Northern Rivalry Resumes on Ice This Weekend". 19 February 2014.
- "Head Coaches Tab Denver as MacNaughton Cup Favorite in Annual Grand Forks Herald WCHA Pre-Season Poll". WCHA.com. 2009-09-30. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
- "WCHA Awards". College hockey Historical Archive. Retrieved 2013-08-26.