Reusse STrib article today on rise of Mankato State

Gophers_4life

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
12,657
Reaction score
2,769
Points
113
https://www.startribune.com/minbnes...ings-frozen-four-gophers-nchc-ccha/600162603/

The Big Ten announced on March 21, 2011, that Penn State's decision to add men's hockey would allow the conference to form a six-team league that would start play for the 2013-14 season.

This would remove Minnesota and Wisconsin from the 12-team WCHA and Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State from the 11-team CCHA.

Another announcement followed on July 9: North Dakota, Minnesota Duluth, Denver, Colorado College, Nebraska Omaha and Miami (Ohio) were the founding members of a conference to start play in the fall of 2013.

Two months later, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan were added to form the eight-team National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

Brad Faison, the North Dakota athletic director, stated the NCHC teams were selected based on having displayed "a high level of competitiveness and institutional commitment to play at the highest level …," etc.

The unspoken message to the Minnesota State Mankato athletic department after 15 seasons in Division I hockey was this:

"This isn't you, Mavericks. You stay with the WCHA/CCHA orphans, including both Alaskas and Alabama-Huntsville.''

It was tough for MSU Mankato officials to argue against that logic. The Mavericks finished 11th among the WCHA's 12 teams in 2011, and finished there again the next season.

The Mankato Free Press described attendance at the downtown arena (then Verizon, now Mayo Clinic) as "dwindling.''

Troy Jutting was ousted as coach in late March of 2012 after 12 seasons and Kevin Buisman, the athletic director since 2002, went on a search for a replacement.

Mike Hastings, the lead assistant to Dean Blais at Nebraska Omaha, was high on the list.

"We met part way between Omaha and Mankato, at the Pizza Ranch in Sheldon, Iowa,'' Buisman said. "I thought we might talk for an hour. It turned into a 4 ½-hour conversation, and most of that was Mike describing his vision for what could be done — really, had to be done — to make us a true factor in college hockey.

"I go back to that meeting and what Mike saw as possible that day, if we made the commitment, is what has happened. He has been transformational for Maverick Hockey.''

That term was used often enough in a phone conversation with Buisman this week that it gets a cap H: Maverick Hockey.

The Mavericks were playing in the downtown arena in 2012, but they were headquartered and practicing at All-Seasons Arena, the old arena with minimal amenities.

New locker rooms were built downtown in 2015 and the Mavericks moved there full time. Three years ago, there was a remodeling of $4 million-plus, with hockey offices, workout areas and excellent locker rooms for both the men's and women's programs.

And now a decade after MSU Mankato was left at the curb by the NCHC, this blows my mind:

An outstanding Gophers team — including Olympians and mega-talents Ben Meyers, Matthew Knies and Brock Faber — will be facing the Mavericks in the national semifinals on Thursday night in Boston … and the game is basically a pick-'em.
 

Gophers_4life

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
12,657
Reaction score
2,769
Points
113
Perhaps Gopher hockey fans don't much care about conf realignments outside of the Big Ten?

But I am curious if anyone here feels strongly one way or another, about if Mankato State should be invited to the NCHC?
 

Gophers1992

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
2,055
Reaction score
2,653
Points
113
Perhaps Gopher hockey fans don't much care about conf realignments outside of the Big Ten?

But I am curious if anyone here feels strongly one way or another, about if Mankato State should be invited to the NCHC?
I don't feel strongly, but there's not much incentive for the NCHC to do it - they don't add an enormous amount of tv viewers or traveling fans, and the NCHC has two teams in MN plus Omaha who is relatively close by. Credit to MSU building that program the way they have, I think they're just fine in the CCHA.
 

Gophers_4life

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
12,657
Reaction score
2,769
Points
113
Does the NCHC have strong TV viewership, at all?

Would think it's mainly the fans of the teams, not at all casual viewers. So if Mankato State has a significantly larger fanbase than say, Western Michigan ...

Also decreases travel somewhat, but I suppose not significantly.


Let's be honest, I just want the NCHC to call itself the WCHA! There's no reason that great conf can't still be alive! ;)
 

Fleckoff

Banned
Joined
Aug 16, 2021
Messages
585
Reaction score
598
Points
93
Perhaps Gopher hockey fans don't much care about conf realignments outside of the Big Ten?

But I am curious if anyone here feels strongly one way or another, about if Mankato State should be invited to the NCHC?
No, I think they should stay in the CCHA, having strong programs will elevate the rest of the league. Honestly the top five of the NCHC is great, but Miami of Ohio, CC and Omaha have struggled in that league. UND, UMD, St. Cloud have been regular fixtures, with Denver and Western Michigan being good more often then not. There's no reason teams like Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, Lake Superior State, Bemidji and Bowling Green can't be better then the bottom of the NCHC and challenge for NCAA bids
 



Ewert86PC

Metrodome Era Survivor
Joined
Sep 11, 2010
Messages
5,692
Reaction score
932
Points
113
Perhaps Gopher hockey fans don't much care about conf realignments outside of the Big Ten?

But I am curious if anyone here feels strongly one way or another, about if Mankato State should be invited to the NCHC?
Sure. Why not? I'm sure they would thrive beneath Denver, UND, UMD, SCSU, CC and Western Michigan and give Nebraska-Omaha & Miami of OH someone to try to make into a cushion on the bottom of that league.
 
Last edited:




Top Bottom