This weekend, the last Central Collegiate Hockey Association championship will be playing out in Detroit. The dismantling of the conference ends an era of great hockey but begins a new era for all of the teams that have been involved.
The NCAA had to undertake a conference realignment due to the start of a Big Ten conference. As a Northern Michigan University alum who loves hockey, I wasn't too thrilled about NMU going to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association as part of this realignment. Why not? It's for the same reason I don't really like college hockey that much - because a college hockey game can end in a tie.
In the CCHA - the conference NMU was in this year - if there is no goal in overtime, the game goes into a shootout like in the NHL. It still counts as a tie in the NCAA standings, but a win in CCHA's records. The CCHA is the only NCAA conference which allows a shootout.
This weekend in Detroit the last-ever CCHA finals will be held -after this year the conference will no longer exist. It's something of a bittersweet ending for me. I'm sad to see the conference go, because I've grown to love the rivalry between some of the Big Ten schools, but I'm excited to see how well NMU will do in the WCHA next year. The team has had a few down times these past years with not making it past the first round of the CCHA playoffs since 2010. They could really use pick-me-up, which hopefully the WCHA can accomplish.
I will be in Detroit this weekend to say goodbye to the CCHA and to watch one of four teams win the last CCHA championship. The teams left are Miami University (Ohio), University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame and Ohio State University.
Even though NMU isn't in the final four, I'm still rooting for a certain team to win. I'm most interested in just seeing how this last tournament is going to end.
Editor's note: Recent Northern Michigan University graduate and Mining Journal Ishpeming Bureau reporter Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org