WCCHA Club Hockey in High Gear
MHM Staff Note: Minnesota Hockey Magazine is working to bring more WCCHA coverage to our audience this year with focus on the Minnesota participants. There is a great story behind college club hockey and, as one of the fastest growing hockey segments on the US hockey scene, there is a high interest level and a close following from players, family, friends and the school’s students. We will bring standings and rankings, game info on key match-ups when we can get them and personal stories of interest. Hope you are one of the fans…follow on!
First, a little background on the ACHA and the WCCHA.
The ACHA (American Collegiate Hockey Association) began as a men’s collegiate hockey organization in 1991, with their inaugural season in 1991-1992. Since then, the ACHA has grown to five divisions (Men’s Division 1, 2, and 3; Women’s Division 1 and 2) with over 431 teams from across the nation representing 49 different states. All teams are members of USA Hockey and the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA).
The WCCHA (Western Collegiate Club Hockey Association) was established in March of 2003 during a meeting at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The five original members were: Michigan Tech University, Minnesota State University-Mankato, University of Minnesota-Duluth, University of Minnesota-TC, and St. Cloud State University.
Since then, Mankato and Michigan Tech have dropped out and the University of St. Thomas, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northern Michigan University, Waldorf College (from Iowa) and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have been added, bringing the total to 8 members this 2013-2014 season.
The WCCHA competes in the ACHA as a Division II conference member. Teams play 14 league games and a non-conference schedule. A league championship tournament is held, usually in February. All teams are registered with the ACHA, participate in and are ranked in the ACHA Central Region.
The last two champions were: University of Minnesota-Duluth (2012-2013) and St. Cloud State University (2011-2012).
The top ranked teams the last 3-4 years have been Northern Michigan, St. Cloud State, University of Minnesota-Duluth and, more recently, Waldorf College.
The 2013-2014 WCCHA college club hockey season has started with some interesting results.
Waldorf College has come out strong and sports a early 6-1-1 league record while playing at least twice that many games in non-conference play. Perennial power Northern Michigan has had a slow start but has only played 4 league games. The University of St. Thomas shows early promise and along with St. Cloud and UMD look to be league contenders at this early stage of the season.
Standing as of 11/11 are:
TEAM GP W-L-T PTS
Waldorf College 8 6-1-1 13
U of St. Thomas 8 4-4-0 8
U of MN-Duluth 8 4-4-0 8
St. Cloud State 6 3-2-1 7
Wisconsin- EauClaire 6 3-2-1 7
U of MN-TC 6 2-4-0 4
Northern Mich 4 1-2-1 3
U of Wisconsin 6 1-5-0 2
Game results from this past weekend.
St. Thomas at University of Wisconsin.
St. Thomas and the U of Wisconsin split in Madison, the Tommies winning the first game , 8-4, and the Badgers taking the second game, 6-4. This moved St. Thomas up to second place in the standings with 8 pts.
Northern Michigan at UMD.
UMD swept the Central Region ranked Wildcats, 2-1 and 5-2 at Duluth’s Mars Lakeview arena, improving UMD’s league record to 4-4-0 and 8 pts in the standings.
A early season capsule from UMD’s coach, Brice Wizner:
Even after losing a large, high point producing senior class, the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs have had quite the season so far to say the least. Just last weekend the Bulldogs swept the regionally ranked Northern Michigan Wildcats, something UMD hasn’t done in four years. Freshman defenseman Cole Schafer and Robbie Zitzlsperger have already adapted to the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s quick rush style, while freshman forward Alec Waszczenko learned quickly about the physical, net presence enforcement required to put points on the board. Notable returnees and leaders like Tony Rossini, the team’s points leader, and Aaron Theis, appointed to his first captain role at UMD, have taught the rookies what it takes to produce at this level, and it’s working out just as they hoped. This weekend the Bulldogs, sporting an 8-4 overall record, will travel to Winona to take on the St. Mary’s Cardinals in a non-conference series.
Early Season ACHA Central Rankings
The first ACHA rankings of the 2013-2014 season were posted on Nov 8. Three WCCHA teams received votes.
- Northern Michigan, #11 with an overall record of 9-7-1 (1-0-1, WCCHA)
- Waldorf College, #14 with an overall record of 9-5-2 (6-1-1, WCCHA)
- St. Cloud State, received ranking votes but was not in the top 15.
They sport an overall record of 4-3-1 (3-2-1, WCCHA)
This first ranking period included all games played through October 27, 2013. The next one will include games through November 17, 2013.
Upcoming League Play (weekend of 11/15-11/17)
Northern Michigan travels to St. Paul to play St. Thomas
University of Wisconsin travels to St. Cloud