Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Butterfly Effect:
The Creation of Big Ten Hockey

The Big Ten Butterfly Effect
It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world - Chaos Theory
Congratulations Terry Pegula!  You are the butterfly that caused the typhoon across the college hockey nation, realigning the landscape that has shaped NCAA Division I hockey for decades. For some, the realignment has been devastating, resulting in the destruction of long-time conference rivalries and leaving some in dire straits to find a home.  Others through luck or pluck have found themselves a new conference to call their own as the Big Ten looks to add a hockey program to their legends and leaders board.
Pegula and his wife Kim--owners of the Buffalo Sabres-- first rocked the boat with a generous $88 million gift to the Penn State University hockey program nearly one year ago, boosting the Nittany Lions from the American Collegiate Hockey Association (Club) to Division I status. The addition not only saw the previous 7-time ACHA National Champions move up the competitive ladder, but now gave the football dominent Big Ten a sixth hockey team, necessary by NCAA standards to form a conference.

As the Big Ten opened its rinks to their programs--Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State-- the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and Central Collegiate Hockey Association felt the cold draft, losing two (WCHA) and three (CCHA) of their top-shelf teams. The fallout had teams scrambling to find solid ground in the crumblings below as more teams-- Minnesota-Duluth, Denver, Colorado College, Miami (Ohio), North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha and most recently St. Cloud State-- jumped ship to form the National Collegiate Hockey Conference this past summer and further purged teams from the already drowning conferences. 17 teams have officially changed their affiliation for the 2013-14 season and the changes have left many teams teams struggling to find their place in the college hockey landscape. But for those in the Big Ten, the future is bright as the new conference takes off to new heights.

Six teams (for now), one conference, and now, the one blog to bring you coverage of everything that is Big Ten Hockey.  Here at B1G Ice Hockey, we will be covering the seasons leading up to and beyond the inaugural year of conference play in 2013-2014.  This is a new beginning for everyone involved and we will be sure to experience it all along the way.

So grab your jersey and your toque, and get ready for an exciting season of Gophers & Wolverines, Buckeyes & Spartans, Badgers & Nittany Lions, and much more!  Go B1G or go home!

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