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.

UNO’s Megna leaves for the pros

Colorado College’s Charlie Taft tries to steal the puck from UNO’s Jayson Megna. Megna, who made the WCHA all-freshman team in 2011-12 after recording 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points, becomes another high-profile offseason departure for a Maverick program that slumped at the end of a 14-18-6 season. CHRIS MACHIAN/WORLD HERALD

Jayson Megna, UNO’s second-leading returning scorer, has decided to turn professional with one of three NHL organizations and won’t return for his sophomore season.

Megna, who attended development camp with Pittsburgh earlier this month, said he’d decide among the Penguins, Bruins and Jets this weekend. He said he received six or seven offers in all.

“Obviously it was a tough decision for me to leave school after playing there for a year, playing with my brother (defenseman Jaycob) and my other teammates,” Megna said. “I loved it. But I made a decision that I think is best for me and my career.”

It is another big hit for the Mavs after losing captain Terry Broadhurst to the Blackhawks earlier in the offseason, and his brother Alex, who decided to go to major junior instead.

For the rest of the Omaha World Herald article by beat writer Rob White, click here.

Here is a list of the 12 early departures from the WCHA so far this offseason as compiled by the Grand Forks Herald’s Brad Schlossman.