Sep 23, 2011 2:12 AM by Lee Douglas/NCHC
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Western Michigan University and St. Cloud State University Thursday accepted invitations to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
In separate news conferences held on their respective campuses, Western Michigan and St. Cloud State announced they would join founding members Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Nebraska Omaha and University of North Dakota in the new Division I men's hockey conference when it begins play in the 2013-14 season.
The Western Michigan announcement was made by University Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard who was joined by Head Coach Andy Murray and Miami University Athletic Director Brad Bates, who represented the Conference. The St. Cloud State acceptance was announced by University President Dr. Earl H. Potter III who was joined by Head Coach Bob Motzko and Brian Faison, North Dakota Athletic Director and the Conference's Athletic Directors Committee spokesman.
"This is a great day for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference to have these two outstanding institutions accept the invitations to become members of what we believe will be the premier college hockey conference in the United States," said Faison. "St. Cloud State and Western Michigan will add a great deal to The National and we are very pleased to welcome them."
"For us to align ourselves with the some of the most storied programs in Division I college hockey provides the opportunities for our student-athletes, coaches, and our terrific fan base to be at the forefront of the sport that allows us to pursue our goal of competing and winning at the highest level," said Beauregard.
"We are delighted to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference," Potter said. "We believe that the conference's strength of play and commitment to college hockey and student-athletes is strong and deep and we look forward to an exciting future with The National."
For the next two years, Western Michigan will continue playing in the Central Collegiate Hockey Conference and St. Cloud State will continue competing in the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference.
In addition to advancing its membership process, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference has been conducting a national search for its first commissioner and expects to have its top executive in place by the end of the calendar year.