WCHA presidents were in town this week for a “president’s summit” hosted by Bemidji State.
I already ran through some of the major talking points from that day in my story in the Pioneer – including what sounds like an interesting media package – but there were a few items of note that didn’t quite make it into the story that I’d like to share here.
-Of course, the major topic of conversation was said media package. BSU president Richard Hanson described it as a service similar to ESPN3.
From the sound of it, each school will still produce and control their own broadcasts (for example, the BSU games will still be on Lakeland Public Television). They’ll also be available through this service streaming online. Fox Sports – which is launching a new mobile and web streaming service called Fox Sports Go – will be involved in some way.
“Most of the schools have their own TV like we do… (Lakeland Public Telvision general manager) Bill Sanford is real eager to continue our relationship. If this thing happens they’re going to have to take a feed from Lakeland and there are some FCC rules about that sort of stuff so it’s pretty bureaucratic.”
It sounds as if it’s still in the early planning stages and nothing is concrete yet, so that’s something that I’ll be keeping track of.
-Although only two schools in attendance – BSU and Minnesota State Mankato – sponsor women’s hockey, the presidents discussed the women’s league and reaffirmed their commitment to sponsoring women’s hockey.
“It’s not a separate conference, we have two leagues in our conference,” Hanson said. “And we wanted to reaffirm that we support the women’s program and take steps to listen to them. I think they feel like maybe they haven’t been listened to… and I don’t know that’s not right.”
-Officiating was also on the docket, although not in any specific way. WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said the new Big Ten Hockey Conference and NCHC “raided” the WCHA officials so they’re working to replace what they’ve lost. He said they added a few officials from the CCHA.
-He also said there were some minor changes in league’s front office with a handful of former CCHA staffers joining the WCHA.
“We have a good core of guys returning from the WCHA. We have about 10 people coming back, 5 from the CCHA and 3 or 4 new people joining the conference staff.”
-I also asked McLeod about his future with the league. At the league meetings in Florida earlier this year the Grand Forks Herald reported that McLeod told people that this season might be his last.
He did say that he told that group in Florida that he’d “probably” be done at the end of the season, but said he didn’t know for sure what would be happening beyond this season.
“Any comments about me and my future and I would guess the operating model of the future of the league should go to Richard Davenport (Minnesota State Mankato president and chair of the WCHA president’s group).”
-I did get a chance to chat briefly with new BSU athletic director Tracy Dill. He’s been on the job for all of a week and said he was still trying his best to meet everyone in the community and figure out what was going on.
“Any time you transition into a new position after 27 years, it’s about just learning the campus, learning the processes that are currently in place,” he said. “Meeting the community, meeting coaches and staff, getting a better understanding of that has been on my agenda.”
One of his main areas of expertise as associate athletic director at St. Cloud State was media and marketing; he said he was impressed with the media presentation given at the meeting.