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.

Monday reading: Tigers in the playoffs, Zaba video, J. Schwartz honor

Former Tigers Trevor Frischmon (No. 28) and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders' top affiliate, saw their season end on Sunday night with a 4-3 OT loss to Connecticut. The Whale swept the best of five AHL playoff series, 3-0.

Colin Stuart, captain of the Rochester Americans, will try to stave off elimination when his team hosts the Toronto Marlies on Monday night in the league’s only game.

Nate Prosser returned from an unspecified injury and the Houston Aeros defense held together for a 1-0 win Sunday at Oklahoma City to keep the best-of-five series going. The West top seed Barons still lead 2-1 in games.

Brian Connelly recorded an assist in Abbotsford’s 4-2 win Sunday night at Milwaukee. The Heat lead the series 2-0 and head back to B.C. for Game 3 on Wednesday.

The Foxes celebrate their championships in Italy's top pro hockey league.

Here are highlights of the Bolzano Foxes’ perfect (12 wins in 12 games) run to the franchise’s record 19th Italia Serie A championship as shown in this highlights video that features goalie Matt Zaba (No. 1, black headgear). The Foxes wear red and white.

Top hockey prospect website HockeysFuture.com selected Jaden Schwartz, drafted 14th overall in 2010, as an honorable mention after  his sophomore performance with Colorado College and as captain of the bronze medalist Canadian world juniors team.

The USA U18 team brought home yet another gold medal.

In the ECHL playoffs, Alaska will host Las Vegas, probably on Friday, to open the Western Conference finals. Brian Swanson and Tim Hall play for the top seed Aces. No former Tigers play for the Wranglers.