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Hockey Broncos join new National conference in 2013

by Adam Bodnar

Sept. 23, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of WMU athletic director Kathy Beauregard.
WMU's Kathy Beauregard holds "The National" hockey jersey
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University announced yesterday it is accepting an invitation to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference—The National—which begins play in the fall of 2013.

National Collegiate Hockey Conference
Colorado College
University of Denver
Miami University
University of Minnesota Duluth
University of Nebraska Omaha
University of North Dakota
St. Cloud State University
Western Michigan University

WMU and Miami are members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and will continue play in the CCHA for the next two seasons. The remaining schools in the new conference are current members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

"This is a significant day for our hockey program, our University and our community," said WMU President John M. Dunn. "Today's announcement is another positive demonstration of what is right about Western Michigan University and is a clear indicator of why our University and Kalamazoo are a wonderful place to call home. We are proud to carry the flag for WMU and represent the great state of Michigan in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference."

The members of the NCHC have combined for 17 national championships, including the 2011 champion, Minnesota Duluth. The NCHC officially invited Western Michigan and St. Cloud State earlier this week.

"Both universities [WMU and St. Cloud State] fit perfectly with the established goals of our conference membership," said Brian Faison, director of athletics at North Dakota and spokesman for the conference's athletic directors. "Their programs are highly competitive and produce quality student-athletes. Each institution has made significant commitments to the continued success of their hockey programs and they are both located in tradition-rich hockey states."

The National is only the second conference in which WMU hockey has been a member during its 38-year history. Several college hockey teams will be playing in new or different conferences two years from now. The chain reaction was started with the announcement that the Big Ten will start a hockey conference for the 2013-14 season.

"My primary concern is making sure that the Broncos play well in the CCHA this year and next year," said first-year head coach Andy Murray. "I am excited about the prospect of playing on a nightly basis against some of the best teams in the country."

There is already considerable excitement about the upcoming Bronco hockey season. WMU has seen a 45 percent increase in season ticket sales. The Broncos host an exhibition game against the University of Toronto at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at Walker Arena in Muskegon, Mich., and open the regular season at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 against Alabama-Huntsville at WMU's Lawson Arena.

The Broncos will meet two of their new conference rivals later this season, with two games at St. Cloud State in December and defending national champion Minnesota Duluth visiting Lawson Arena Jan. 6-7.

Visit for more information and to order season tickets.