(Northland's NewsCenter) --- Five schools, including UW-Superior, will leave the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) following the 2013-14 season, it was officially announced Wednesday.
UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Stout will join the Yellowjackets in departing the NCHA in favor of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC).
The Northland's NewsCenter confirmed this news late Tuesday evening, and it became official on Wednesday morning with a news release from WIAC Commissioner Gary Karner.
With those five teams leaving, the men's NCHA will have only St. Scholastica and defending Division III national champion St. Norbert as its remaining members.
“This was an incredibly difficult decision, as the WIAC schools have had a significant impact on the history of the NCHA. We didn’t just come to this juncture overnight,” UW-Superior athletic director Steve Nelson said. “We put a lot of thought into this decision, making sure we were doing right by our membership and our student-athletes going forward and as a body we felt this was the best decision, to withdraw from the NCHA and compete solely in the WIAC.”
There are no immediate plans as to what those St. Scholastica and St. Norbert will do for a hockey conference, although there is an outside chance they could be accpeted to participate in the WIAC.
The Saints women's hockey team will also remain in the NCHA, although that league has six other remaining teams past the 2013-14 season.
“With this time frame, it gives us multiple options to explore," a St. Scholastica athletics spokesperson said in a statement, "and we will do just that to give both our men’s and women’s hockey programs the best opportunity to flourish in the future.”