Thursday reading: NCHC, Gophers, UND, rules, expansion, UAH

Here is the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference web site. Here is a Denver Post profile of commissioner Jim Scherr.

Zach Budish will serve as Minnesota’s captain next season.

The NCAA announced rule changes for next season. Puckato explains here.

The roster for the 2012 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 29 was announced. No future Tigers made the list (several players remain uncommitted) but a number of WCHA and future National Collegiate Hockey Conference players did.

Goon’s World ran across a graphic that shows the number of championships won by Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. UND fans will enjoy it.

Former UNO player Jayson Megna signed with Pittsburgh. He announced he would leave Omaha last  Friday.

Bleacher Report’s Al Daniels put some thought into this blog post, although it is all wishful thinking or conjecture. He names Cincinnati, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, and Syracuse as five schools that would be good expansion sites for college hockey.

Illinois and Indiana have been mentioned as possible Big 10 additions by others but remember, for every men’s program, a women’s team must be added, with the exception of Syracuse (CHA). I suspect the next expansion will have to follow the Penn State model —  hockey-loving booster willing to donate $90-100 million to fund both genders’ programs and build an arena.

Other programs I have read or heard mentioned include Arizona State, Stanford, Vanderbilt and St. Louis. Anyone heard of others?

Regardless, it looks like Division I will lose a program soon after it gains Penn State. There was talk before Paul Kelly left College Hockey Inc. about a travel exemption for road games at Alabama-Huntsville (like the two Alaska schools) to give that program a fighting chance at drawing opponents for home games. Even that may not be enough.

The 2012-13 schedule remains unannounced but sources indicate only Minnesota State-Mankato, USA U-18 and two Division III schools are scheduled to play in Huntsville so far. Without some home ticket revenue, the Chargers will lose too much money to survive. The new-look WCHA, which had some members criticize the NCHC for leaving because of money and ignoring ” the good of the sport,” should move forward on admitting the program as soon as possible.

Update: Bradley commits to CC this fall

Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Cody Bradley has committed to play for Colorado College. He will be the first Floridan to play for the Tigers.

The 5-foot-10, 166-pound forward from Tampa will join CC this fall after compiling 10 points (6g, 4a) with Dubuque. In time split between the Saints and Indiana Ice this season, he recorded 18 points (9g,9a) in 31 games.

He recorded 20 points (11g,9a) in 51 games with Indiana his rookie season.

“After taking a look at all my options and talking with the coaching staff, I felt like Colorado College would be the best fit for me,” Bradley said in a Dubuque press release. “I want to go to a school that will give me an opportunity to play right away. I know that I’ll be able to make an impact as a freshman at CC.”

He is the son of 14-year NHL veteran Brian Bradley, who recorded 86 points in 80 games with Tampa Bay during the 1992-93 season.

The signing period starts on Wednesday and lasts until August.

He is expected to join newcomers Hunter Fejes, Jared Hanson, and Michael King this fall. With CC expected to go from 28 players to the usual 26 on the active roster, that leaves one or two spots open after six seniors graduated and sophomore Jaden Schwartz left the program early. Dakota Eveland will miss next season to recover from neck surgery.

Colorado College will spend one more season in the WCHA before joining the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference in 2013-14.

Two former Saints are already with the Tigers – both Jordan DiGiando and Scott Wamsganz moved on after helping the Saints to a Clark Cup championship last year.

“I’m really happy for Cody Bradley,” said Saints head coach Jim Montgomery. “He’s an exceptional player who is going to an exceptional college hockey program. Our fans got a glimpse of Cody’s ability to make plays this year, and we wish Cody the best of luck in his collegiate career.”