MCHA Renamed NCHA | New Structure Approved

Significant changes to the membership and leadership of both the Men's and Women's Northern Collegiate Athletic Association have become official after a meeting of the league athletic directors.

The Midwest Collegiate Athletic Associaiton, which added the St. Norbert and St. Scholastica men's programs, will move forward as the Northern Collegiate Athletic Association.  The NCHA Men's Conference will now consist of the following ten members:

ADRIAN COLLEGE
CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY WISCONSIN
FINLANDIA UNIVERSITY
LAKE FOREST COLLEGE 
LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY
MARIAN UNIVERSITY
MILWAUKEE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
NORTHLAND COLLEGE
ST. NORBERT COLLEGE
COLLEGE OF ST. SCHOLASTICA

The landscape of the Men's Conference was drastically changed when the University of Wisconsin state school members departed at the end of the 2012-13 season.

The NCHA Women's Conference will continue to add to its storied history and tradition as it drops the puck on its 14th season.  The conference will continue with the same members as last year, minus the Wisconsin state schools that departed.  The NCHA Women's Conference will consist of the following seven members:

ADRIAN COLLEGE
CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY WISCONSIN
FINLANDIA UNIVERSITY
LAKE FOREST COLLEGE
MARIAN UNIVERSITY
ST. NORBERT COLLEGE
COLLEGE OF ST. SCHOLASTICA

Both the Men's and Women's conferences will retain their NCAA tournament automatic qualification status, meaning the conference playoff champions will gain automatic entry into the NCAA tournament.

Along with the changes in membership, the NCHA Men's and Women's leagues will utilize common executive leadership while having separate administrative structure, constitutions and bylaws.  Dr. G. Steven Larson will serve as Commissioner of both conferences, having previously served as Commissioner of the MCHA. 

“We are very pleased to announce these changes as we are moving into the transitional phases of our women’s and men’s conferences,” Larson said. “It was very important for us to respect and recognize the traditions of both associations while simultaneously moving forward with a new perspective to reflect the changes that have taken place. Needless to say, this is a very exciting period of progression for member institutions and our hockey programs.”

Jim Olson, who served as the Director of Officials for the MCHA, will now serve in the same role for both the NCHA Men's and Women's Conferences.

Chris Zills and Brian Monahan, who previously worked behind the scenes for the MCHA and NCHA to publicize their respective leagues, will be moving into similar, but different roles moving forward for the NCHA.  Monahan will serve in the role of Director of Public Relations, taking an active role in promoting, social media, blogging and other “faces” of the media.  Zills will be the Director of Sports Information, maintaining the behind-the-scenes aspect of the communications department.

“Moving the eight current MCHA men’s programs forward as the NCHA brings together our men and women under one umbrella,” Adrian president & chair of the MCHA/NCHA president's council Jeff Docking said. “We can now work on promoting growth on both fronts, while keeping 30-plus years of combined championship tradition alive.”

Speaking of championships, the regular season winner in both conferences will now receive a trophy named after a significant leader in the growth of hockey.  The Peters Cup - formerly given to the Men's NCHA playoff champion - will now be given to the regular season champ.  The Men's playoff champ will win the Harris Cup, named after MSOE Director of Athletics Dan Harris, who served as the first president of the MCHA and helped get the league up and running.

The Women's playoff champion will be awarded the Slaats Cup, named in honor of Lake Forest College Director of Athletics Jackie Slaats, in recognition of her efforts and dedication in pioneering the formation of the Women’s NCHA.  The regular-season champion will now receive the “Kronschnabel Cup”, named after Bill Kronschnabel, the commissioner of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association from 2002-13.  He served as the NCHA Supervisor of Officials from 1998 to 2005 and also played a role in the former MCHA as its Supervisor of Officials in its early stages.

“We felt it was very important to honor and recognize the individuals who were so important in pioneering and fostering the development of the MCHA and NCHA,” Larson said. “Their leadership and vision have been instrumental in the success of both associations.”

“I am really excited about the coming together of the two leagues and about both the synergy and energy that will result from having our men and women compete under the same name,” Slaats said. “I am also honored and humbled to have the new league playoff championship bear my name. It’s hard to believe how quickly, and how much, women’s hockey has grown since the initial formation of a women’s division in the spring of 2000. I honestly could not be happier or more proud of the outcome.”

“Those of us at Concordia University are very excited to be a part of the new direction and strategic vision for our hockey conference,” MCHA DASC Chair Rob Barnhill said. “The level of competition in our new conference will be rigorous and the student-athlete experience will be greatly enhanced by participating with student-athletes from likeminded and like-missioned institutions.”

The original Northern Collegiate Hockey Association dates back to 1980 and includes a lengthy history that consists of 12 NCAA National Championships won by six different members.  Herb Brooks coached in the NCHA and Joel Otto played at Bemidji State before going on to win a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames.  The MCHA dates back to the 1998-99 season and has taken great strides in the past 15 years to rise to the level that is has achieved.

The online home of both the NCHA Men's and Women's Conferences will be www.nchahockey.org.  Changes to the web site will gradually take place in the coming months to reflect the exciting changes aforementioned.