MEN’S HOCKEY: CCHA name revived for new league including Bemidji State
BEMIDJI -- There’s now a name for the new men’s hockey conference being formed by Bemidji State and six other schools, and it’s one familiar to college hockey fans.
The new league will be reestablished and branded as the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and is scheduled to begin play in the 2021-22 season, according to a release Tuesday from the group’s leader, Morris Kurtz.
The creation of the league was spurred in June when seven members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association announced they were leaving the conference to explore forming a new one. The seven schools include BSU, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State Mankato and Northern Michigan.
The original CCHA was established in 1971 before disbanding following the 2012-13 season. BGSU, FSU, LSSU, MTU and NMU were previously members of the league. Bowling Green reportedly retained the rights to the CCHA name and history following the original league’s demise.
“After extensive discussion and significant due diligence, it made sense to everyone involved to move in this direction,” Kurtz said in the release. “The name conveys the current geographic alignment of our members and the CCHA brand has a tremendous amount of equity and goodwill associated with it. What’s old is new again and we look forward to refreshing the brand and identity to fully capture the energy and passion of the institutions it represents.”
The release goes on to state that the new CCHA is on track to begin play in October 2021 and aims to have a commissioner in place by July. A logo will be unveiled at a later date.
“We have interviewed several consulting firms to assist us with brand development,” Kurtz said. “That process will create some momentum for us as we begin the commissioner search process. I am confident that the Central Collegiate Hockey Association commissionership presents an incredible opportunity. We will find the right person and have them ready to start leading this group by July 1.”
Kurtz, an athletics and hockey consultant, has helped the seven schools through “legal incorporation, the creation of league bylaws and the establishment of a financial escrow fund,” according to the release.
“It’s been inspiring to lead this group as it is comprised of institutions rich in history and tradition, with a strong commitment to academic and athletic excellence,” he said. “As noted from inception, they have a real vision for where they are going with the new league, as they focus on improving regional alignment while building natural rivalries and enhancing the student-athlete and fan experience.”