We have conference realignment news! Sorry, Connecticut Huskies fans, but not THAT realignment news. It isn’t really even Mid-American Conference news but involves a MAC member. The Bowling Green Falcons announced on Friday that they and seven other conference foes from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association were beginning the process of leaving the conference.
Bowling Green was joined by Bemidji State, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota Mankato and Northern Michigan in announcing their interest in leaving. Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Fairbanks and Alabama Huntsville were the three conference schools not involved. It is unclear if they were invited to discussions on potentially starting a new conference or not. The three schools not leaving, are typically found at the bottom of the conference standings and represent significant travel from other league schools. The press release put out by the seven schools made mention of issues such as improving regional alignment, and elite competitiveness.
BGSU announced that the teams initiated the process by submitting a notice to the league office to begin the withdrawal process from the league. The school will play in the league until completion of the 2020-21 season. The seven teams have hired an outside voice in Dr. Morris Kurtz to serve as their spokesperson.
While BGSU is a MAC school, since the MAC does not sponsor hockey as a varsity sport, the Falcons have played in the WCHA since 2014. They are one of just three MAC schools with varsity hockey, joining Miami and Western Michigan, who play in the NCHC. BGSU has a storied hockey history, highlighted by the 1984 National Championship and 1978 Frozen Four appearance. They are the alma mater of such past hockey names like, Rob Blake, Dan Bylsma, George McPhee and many others.
The Falcons have had a busy off-season. They returned to the NCAA tournament this spring for the first time since 1990, before losing their head coach Chris Bergeron to Miami of Ohio and replacing him with longtime assistant Ty Eigner. The Falcons recently had ten players representing the program at various NHL developmental camps.
Other News: In Falcon football news, Bowling Green linebacker Hassan Belton announced via Twitter that his knee injury, which caused him to miss all but two games last season, was worse than expected and he will medically retire from the sport. In those two games Belton had 7 tackles in his first season on the plains of Ohio. Belton would have been a red-shirt senior this year after beginning his career at Butler Community College. He was expected to compete for time under new head coach Scot Loeffler.