Penn State Hockey, it just sounds right. With the Penguins and Flyers dividing Happy Valley in two it only seems right for State College to finally get it’s own D1 team. Pennsylvania is gaining respect in college hockey and has recently won the rights to host the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four in Pittsburgh and the 2014 Frozen Four in Philadelphia. When the news broke for the 100th time that Penn State was looking into building a 6,000-8,000 seat facility the talk almost immediately turned to the formation of a Big Ten Hockey League.
On the outset that seems like a good idea, the Big Ten holds some of the nations best hockey teams, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Ohio State all have rich hockey history, and the addition of Penn State would allow them to finally create their own 6 team league.
The problem college hockey heads face is maintaining the stability and structure that it has had for so many years. Removing Big Ten teams from the CCHA and WCHA would essentially destroy both of those leagues, a structural and financial hit that small schools in both of these league would not be able to handle. Programs like St. Cloud State just don’t have the money to successfully restructure leagues with the same long-term financial success. While the names of these programs may seem small in comparison, they are the backbone, and sometimes the champions of a very talented college hockey landscape.
So what does that mean for Penn State? Right now it looks much more likely that Penn State will be joining the CCHA than helping create a Big Ten League. The CCHA currently consists of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Western Michigan, Northern Michigan, Miami, Lake Superior, Bowling Green, Ferris State and Alaska. Minus random trips to Sarah Palin’s backyard, Penn State would be dealing with teams and locations already familiar to them
“They’re in a different market than we’re in, more and more U.S. players are on college rosters, and there’s tremendous growth of the sport in Pennsylvania,” CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos told the Detroit News. Anastos said there is no timeline for extending an invitation to Penn State, but confirmed he has exchanged e-mails with Penn State president Graham Spanier on the topic. Anastos also said Penn State officials recently toured hockey facilities at CCHA member schools.
Luckily for Penn State fans the CCHA will be meeting next week to discuss among other things, the addition of a 12th team to the league. Last year the CCHA had a 12th team in Nebraska-Omaha but they moved to the WCHA. Penn State hockey might be a few years away from dropping the puck, but at least they might have a home sooner than that.