In my first article I looked at what a potential NCAA Division 1 PAC-12 Conference would look like. Now I’ll do the same for the Mountain West Conference. Adding NCAA D-1 Ice Hockey would help to strengthen college hockey as well as grow the sport out west.T
The Case For Adding ACHA Schools
One school currently in the 12 team ACHA D-2 PAC-8 you could add is Boise State. The Boise State Broncos would play at CenturyLink Arena that seats 5,002 for hockey and is home to the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads. The Idaho Steelheads are the affiliate of the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League (NHL).
Colorado State University
One school to add currently at the ACHA D-1 level team in the Western Collegiate Hockey League (WCHL) is Colorado State University. They’d play at Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado about half hour from campus which seats 5,289 for hockey. The AHL’s Colorado Eagles play home games at the Budweiser Events Center. The Eagles are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. Colorado hosts two franchises in the Junior-A Tier-2 Western States Hockey League (WSHL), the Northern Colorado Eagles and the Steamboat Wranglers.
Another school currently at the ACHA D-1 level that plays an independent schedule you could add is UNLV. They currently play home games at City National Arena where the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights practice. In a potential D1 Mountain West Conference you could move them to Orleans Arena that sits 7,773 for hockey and was home to the now defunct Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL.
San Diego State
A fourth school you could add that currently fields a team in the ACHA D-2 12 team PAC-8 is San Diego State. The Aztecs would play at Pechanga Arena about fifteen minutes from campus. Pechanga Arena seats 12,920 for ice hockey and is currently home to the AHL’s San Diego Gulls, affiliate of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.
A fifth school to add is Fresno State who currently field an ACHA D-2 team. The Bulldogs would share Selland Arena with the Fresno Monsters of the WSHL. Selland Arena seats 7,600 for ice hockey and is about fifteen minutes from campus.
University of New Mexico
A sixth school to add is currently at the ACHA D-3 level is University of New Mexico. The Lobos would play at Tingley Coliseum about ten minutes from campus which seats 10,120 for hockey. Tingley Coliseum was previously home to now defunct New Mexico Scorpions of the Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL).
History of the WPHL and the Scorpions
Which saw teams including the Scorpions join the Central Hockey League (CHL) when WPHL ceased operations after the 2000-01 season. The CHL ceased operations after the 2013-14 season. The Scorpions played from 1996-2005 before ceasing operations for one season before resuming play from 2006-2009.
Adding Two NCAA D-1 Schools
Add the United States Air Force Academy who currently field an NCAA D-1 team in the Atlantic Hockey Conference based out of the Northeastern United States. This move would bring them regional competition and less travel. They Falcons would continue to play their home games at Cadet Ice Arena which sits 2,502 for hockey.
You can also add the University of Denver who currently field an NCAA D-1 team in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). The Pioneers would still play home games at Magness Arena that seats just over 7,000. Magness Arena is also home to their men’s and women’s basketball teams.