22 Days to Go! Welcome to the NCHC, Part 1

As we start our 2013-14 preseason coverage, we introduce you to the new conference. The National Collegiate Hockey Conference should prove to be a whale of a conference to play in for many years. Outside of college hockey, you may not know that these schools are power houses. You may not have even heard of some of the schools without ties to Miami hockey. Here’s the first portion of our intro to the teams of the NCHC.

Western Michigan Broncos

We start with the Broncos only because we are so familiar with them. Miami has played in the CCHA with WMU since Miami joined in 1980-81 and recently passed on a pair who had ties to Miami – former assistant coach Jeff Blashill and 2010 de-commit Shane Berschbach.

WMU won the 2012 CCHA tournament under then-first-year head coach Andy Murray, and at that point had 3 head coaches in as many years (Jim Culhane left in 2009-2010 after 10+ seasons, and Blashill was only at the helm for 1 season). Despite this mild turmoil in Kalamazoo, The Broncos have won 19, 21 and 19 games over the last 3 seasons – their first such 3 season streak.

Overall record: 685–699–135 (Division 1 since 1973)
NCAA Appearances: 5 (5 first round losses)
Arena: Lawson Arena (Capacity: 3,667), Kalamazoo, MI
Current Head Coach: Andy Murray (40-25-14, 2 seasons, 1 NCAA appearance)
Record vs. Miami: Miami leads 52-57-10 all time, most recently a split in Kalamazoo in February 2013 with 1st place in the CCHA on the line

St. Cloud State Huskies

The Huskies have just come off of quite a season. First, in the off-season, they were selected, along with WMU as the final pieces to the newly formed NCHC. Then, they tore through the WCHA en route to a 25 win season, a WCHA Regular Season Championship and NCAA tournament appearance. SCSU beat Notre Dame – the #1 seed – and Miami – the #2 seed – to win their first ever NCAA Regional and made their 1st Frozen Four appearance ever. They would lose to Quinnipiac 4-1 in the national semifinal, but the next night, Drew Leblanc won the Hobey Baker award – another first for the school.

The Huskies have made a Division II Frozen Four back in 1987 and then joined the Division I ranks, but the 2012-13 season was by far their best ever as a program. Finally, to cap it off, they are re-opening the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on September 28th after a $30 million renovation effort that added wider atriums, additional seating, a renovated locker room and new training facilities.

Overall record: 1367–903–125 (66 seasons)
NCAA Appearances: 9 1 Frozen Four, 1 Div II Frozen Four)
Arena: Herb Brooks National Hockey Center (Capacity: 5,763)
Current Head Coach: Bob Motzko (120-92-29, 7 seasons, Miami assistant coach 1991-93 and 1994-98)

North Dakota (formerly the Fighting Sioux)

That’s right…formerly. Until 2012, even against the Sioux tribe’s wishes, North Dakota was asked forced to drop the “Fighting Sioux” as their mascot, including having to remove all logos from their beautiful arena, affectionately known as “The Ralph.” Although you won’t see a new mascot for up to 3 more years, you will still see Sioux jerseys at seemingly EVERY hockey event, including several Miami games (long before North Dakota became a conference mate). Just look for the green.

Although they aren’t named (anything related to) the Sioux any longer, they are certainly fighters and will consistently be a force to be reckoned with in the NCHC. After Michigan did not make the NCAA tournament last season, this left North Dakota as the only team with a longer appearance streak in the NCAA tournament than Miami. The RedHawks stand at 8 years, while North Dakota’s streak reached 11 years in 2013.

Overall record: 1367–903–125 (66 seasons)
NCAA Appearances: 28 (19 Frozen Fours, 7 National Championships, most recently in 2000)
Arena: Ralph Engelstad Arena (Capacity: 11,640), Grand Forks, ND
Current Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (235-117-37, 9 seasons, 9 tournament appearances, 1 National runner up, 5 Frozen Fours)
Record vs. Miami: 2-0-1 all time, most recently a 5-5 tie in 2009

We’ll give you capsules of Nebraska-Omaha, Minnesota-Duluth, Denver and Colorado College in our next installment. We’re less than 22 days away now. Keep Calm and RedHawk On, friends.

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Posted on September 13, 2013, in 2013-14, 2013-14 Preseason, NCHC, North Dakota Fighting Sioux, St. Cloud State Huskies, Western Michigan and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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