Minnesota State announced on Wednesday that it has formally applied to join the NCHC.
“The decision to explore possible NCHC membership was made after extensive institutional deliberation about the future direction of Maverick hockey, and was a process in which Davenport communicated with WCHA commissioner Bill Robertson about MSU’s plans,” a news statement from MSU said.
“With an eye to the future, we wanted to be proactive in seeking what’s best for the University and believe that now is the right time to consider all conference affiliation options for our men’s hockey program,” university president Richard Davenport said.
“I am aware of the current exploration process being undertaken by Minnesota State University, Mankato in regards to conference affiliation,” the WCHA’s Robertson said. “I am deeply disappointed in Minnesota State’s decision to formally apply for membership with another conference; however, I respect and understand the need for MSU President Dr. Richard Davenport and Athletic Director Kevin Buisman to examine options pertaining to their men’s hockey program. I am appreciative to Dr. Davenport for his openness and transparency, and will continue to maintain an open and collaborative dialogue throughout this process.”
NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton said in a statement: “Dating back to the conference’s inception, the collective strength of our current membership has always been and will continue to be a priority for the NCHC. The NCHC responded to an inquiry we received from Minnesota State, Mankato regarding conference affiliation. However, and as stated many times before, our collective discussion on the topic of expansion is grounded in how we can maximize the value of our current member institutions. This manner of assessing any membership inquiry will continue to be our focus into the future, regardless of the opportunity presented. We remain guided by strengthening the NCHC and helping to grow the game of college hockey.”
Because of scheduling commitments, the earliest the move would likely happen would be the 2017-18 season.