The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, or WCHA, the far-flung hockey conference whose membership stretched from Alabama to Alaska, was already reeling after 7 of its 10 teams — mostly programs in the Upper Midwest — announced that they would be leaving the conference in June.
Now, according to the Anchorage Daily News, an eighth team, Alabama-Huntsville, has submitted a letter to the Conference has submitted a letter of withdrawal to leave the conference, as well.
That means that just the two Alaska schools — Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Fairbanks — will be left standing as WCHA members after the 2020-21 hockey season.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that the seven previously departed WCHA members — Northern Michigan, Michigan Tech, Lake Superior State, Minnesota State, Bemidji State, Ferris State and Bowling Green — would seek to create a new conference with a smaller geographic footprint when they made their collective decision to depart during the summer.
Alabama-Huntsville, according to Tech Hockey Guide, which first reported their departure, likely faces two options for the future of its hockey program: 1) Try to join up with some or all of the other departing WCHA members, or 2) seek to join Atlantic Hockey, whose members include programs from states in the northeast and Colorado.
The Daily News reports that all of the nation’s 60 collegiate hockey programs belong to a conference but one — Arizona State. The Sun Devils will likely not be offered membership in a conference until they have a permanent arena space.