For all the concern about what could happen to Alabama-Huntsville in the near future, and for all the gloom and doom over its attempt to find room in the CCHA … the more it’s investigated, the more it might make sense.
However, this is only because of Nebraska-Omaha’s potential departure from the CCHA for the WCHA.
See, we’ve been part of the uproar here. We wrote recently that the WCHA’s open courting of Nebraska-Omaha, as a way of making Bemidji State’s WCHA entrance more palateable, was very unseemly. After all, if the WCHA was truly only trying to do what was best for college hockey as a whole — and bring in Bemidji State in order to save that program (with the impending dissolution of the CHA) — then how could it claim that while also robbing another conference of one of their teams? At best, it was a 50-50 proposition, from the big picture view of college hockey.
However, maybe not.
Huntsville’s longshot bid becomes a lot more intriguing vis-a-vis UNO, specifically. Huntsville has been labeled a longshot because of the distance from CCHA schools. In this economy especially, flying schools to Huntsville is an expense most schools don’t want.
When the discussion swirled around Bowling Green’s potential demise, replacing BGSU with Huntsville was a costly difference.
But in terms of UNO, there is no cost difference. And this is the huge key.
A check of Google Maps shows that the driving mileage distance from Detroit to Omaha, Nebraska, is 732 miles. The driving distance from Detroit to Huntsville, Alabama, is only 663 miles.
True, the airport situation may be trickier, but the end result may be no more expensive for CCHA teams.
So perhaps UNO to the WCHA, while a rough “see ya later” to the CCHA, may be the one scenario that is best for college hockey right now. Let’s face it, everyone’s between a rock and a hard place, but at least there is some semblance of a solution that would benefit everyone, somewhat — and potentially save two programs.
Update: And, as UAH SID Jamie Gilliam points out, Huntsville was just named the top place to live!