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New-look WCHA meeting this week

College hockey is all set for its scheduled makeover. And it's not just the conferences that are getting a facelift. The postseason will also look totally different in 2013-14 - the first year that both the Big Ten and National Collegiate Hockey Conferences are set to begin play.

The NCHC marked its territory Monday when the new league announced a five-year deal with the Target Center in Minneapolis starting in 2014.

That's on the heels of the Big Ten's announcement that it would be alternating between St. Paul and Detroit for the near future. The Big Ten will play at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul in 2014 and 2016 and at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit in 2015 and 2017.

At the moment, that leaves the new-look WCHA without a postseason home.

It's one of the many items on the agenda at this week's WCHA meetings in Detroit. The current members of the league (ones not defecting) are set to meet with the members coming from the soon-to-be-defunct CCHA to hash out all of those little issues when the new-look league starts in 2014.

"It's just typical business at this point," Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore said of the meetings, which started Tuesday.

Serratore couldn't comment on specifics of the meetings just yet, but the coaches, athletic directors and university representatives in attendance planned to discuss the playoff format and location, among other things.

The postseason is an issue that's gotten some major traction in recent weeks, especially with the NCHC's announcement Monday.

With the NCHC in Minneapolis and the Big Ten claiming St. Paul every other year, the WCHA might have a tough time booking the Twin Cities in the near future.

The returning WCHA members (BSU, Minnesota State-Mankato, Michigan Tech and Alaska-Anchorage) and CCHA refugees (Bowling Green, Northern Michigan, Lake Superior State, Ferris State and Alaska-Fairbanks) might have a tough time drawing at Xcel or Joe Louis.

But the Bowling Green Sentinel Tribune reported last week that the league was looking into sharing Detroit and St. Paul with the Big Ten in opposite years.

Another proposal would use smaller arenas in more centralized locations. The Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisc., was mentioned as an early contender, but the arena will host the Wisconsin girls high school championships and will not be available.

AMSOIL Arena in Duluth and Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., have also been mentioned as possible tournament locations in various media reports.

According to a report from the Marquette (Mich.) Mining Journal, league directors have potential venues in mind but have not settled on anything definitive.

The paper quotes WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod, saying that other items on the agenda include things like marketing and governance - specifically things like broadcast coverage.

The meetings are set to wrap up today.

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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