Mercyhurst College and three other Atlantic Hockey Association schools took the first step Tuesday towards a potential future move to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The next step lies ahead.
Representatives from Mercyhurst, Canisius, Niagara and Robert Morris met with CCHA commissioner Fred Pletsch and members of the league’s executive board on Mercyhurst’s campus.
The meeting included athletic director Joe Kimball and senior associate athletic director Aaron Kemp from Mercyhurst; athletic director Bill Maher and associate AD John Maddock from Canisius; Niagara AD Ed McLaughlin; and Robert Morris AD Craig Coleman.
Officials from the AHA-member schools called the meeting “a very frank and open discussion” in a statement. “The CCHA offers several exciting opportunities for our institutions,” the statement read.
Yet they also stated, “At this point in time, no decisions have been made about leaving Atlantic Hockey or joining the CCHA.” Both sides have agreed to meet again at a future date. For now, representatives from the AHA-member schools plan to meet with the presidents and hockey staffs from their respective schools as well as AHA commissioner Bob DeGregorio and the league’s executive committee.
The CCHA will lose four schools to different conferences in the 2013-14 season – Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State to the new Big Ten Conference and Miami (Ohio) to the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Reports indicate that Northern Michigan, which has been invited to join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Notre Dame and Western Michigan also could depart the CCHA. That could leave the conference with only Bowling Green, Ferris State and Lake Superior State.