Bowling Green officials declined comment Wednesday regarding the Falcons’ interest in joining the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
The Falcons have been widely rumored as a possible member of the NCHC, should the conference expand to 10 schools.
The NCHC has eight schools, but Arizona State could become the conference’s ninth member and a 10th school is expected to be added.
Minnesota State, a member of the 10-school Western Collegiate Hockey Association like BG, announced last week it has applied for membership in the NCHC.
The Grand Forks Herald reported a decision could be made before the start of the season in October.
BG assistant athletics director for athletic communications Jason Knavel and Falcon coach Chris Bergeron declined comment on all questions regarding the school’s interest in the NCHC and its future in the WCHA.
Minnesota State is 76-35-11 overall and 57-16-11 in the WCHA during the last three seasons. The Mavericks shared the league regular-season championship with Michigan Tech last season after winning the title outright in 2015 and finishing second in 2014. Minnesota State won WCHA playoff championships in 2014 and 2015.
The NCHC consists of Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud and Western Michigan.
The rest of the WCHA consists of Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska (Fairbanks), Bemidji State, Ferris State, Lake Superior, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan.
Minnesota State would make the most sense geographically for the NCHC, although Miami and Western would like to add BG to the conference. BG, Miami and Western all were members of the now-defunct Central Collegiate Hockey Association, and remain members of the Mid-American Conference in other sports.
The next round of college hockey’s realignment should fall into place once Arizona State finds a conference home. The Sun Devils will be starting their second season as an NCAA Division I independent this fall.
The Falcons are starting their fourth year of membership in the WCHA this fall.
Among the many rumors for the next round of realignment is a return of the CCHA since BG still holds the naming rights to the league. BG, Alaska (Fairbanks), Ferris, Lake Superior, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan all are former members of the CCHA.
RULES UPDATE: Also Wednesday, the NCAA hockey rules committee tabled a proposal that would have required five-minute, 4-on-4 overtime during regular-season games this season.
The committee decided to table the proposal before the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel was scheduled to vote on it later Wednesday. League and NCAA playoff games would have continued to play 20-minute overtimes, consisting of 5-on-5 play. Regular-season overtime will remain 5 on 5 for five minutes.
“As part of the rules process, the committee has been gathering input from our membership on all of our proposals, including this issue,” Michigan State coach and rules committee chair Tom Anastos said in a statement. “While there remains support for some change to our current system, the committee believes that the best course of action at this time is to pause for at least another season to allow for more dialogue, examination and consideration to occur.”
The oversight panel, however, approved a provision that if a game is tied after overtime, an experimental rule can be used to allow teams to play a 3 on 3 overtime for five minutes, followed by a shootout to determine a winner. Each league will decide if it will use the experimental rule or not.
The oversight panel also approved a coach’s challenge for video replay to be used for goals involving potential offsides and too many men on the ice. The challenge will not be used in the last two minutes and overtime when officials will be able to review all plays without a challenge request.
The panel also voted to require all officials and players to wear helmets when they are on the ice with the exception of the playing of the National Anthem. WCHA referee Butch Mousseau died of a head injury when he fell on the ice before a WCHA Final Five semifinal five last season. He was not wearing a helmet.