Bulldog Players React to UMD's New Conference

By KBJR News 1

July 15, 2011 Updated Jul 15, 2011 at 8:16 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- The college hockey world is still reacting to Wednesday's announcement of the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), including the players of the teams involved in the new league.

Current UMD players Jack Connolly and J.T. Brown, along with UMD recruit Derik Johnson, were in St. Paul this week taking part in the Minnesota Wild's development camp.

All three said it's exciting news for the Bulldogs and their fans, but that it is sad to see what's happening to the WCHA.

"Obviously the WCHA has always been a strong league, but I still think with this new league we will be playing the top competition night in and night out," Bulldogs sophomore forward J.T Brown said. "We'll have a good group of teams in there, so I think it'll help us because we are playing the top talent."

"It's a little disappointing, obviously. There's a lot of history and tradition in the WCHA," UMD senior captain Jack Connolly said. "If that league is going to happen, I give UMD props for getting into it. It's going to be a great league with some of the top-end teams in the nation. It's great for them to get in it, but I would have also liked to see the WCHA try to stay intact, but I guess sometimes you can't really control those things."

"The WCHA was a big point in my recruitment," Bulldogs recruit Derik Johnson said. "It's too bad. I'm a big fan of the WCHA. The new league will be tough competition every night, just like the old WCHA, and it might even be a little tougher than the old WCHA. You'll be tested every night, and every game will be that much more important."

The NCHC includes UMD, Denver, North Dakota, Colorado College, Nebraska-Omaha, and Miami of Ohio. Notre Dame and Western Michigan are also considering joining the new league.

Play in the new conference will begin in the 2013-2014 season.

Posted by Zach Schneider