Bowling Green State University to join re-established CCHA for 2021-22 season

By Bob Cunningham ’18

The Bowling Green State University hockey team will play in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) starting in the 2021-22 season.

BGSU will join six other Div. I universities that first announced in June 2019 they would explore the formation of a new hockey conference. That league will be re-established and branded as the storied Central Collegiate Hockey Association, which disbanded after the 2012-13 season.

Bemidji State University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University, Minnesota State University-Mankato and Northern Michigan University also will play in the new league.

The Falcons are the only team to have played every year in the original CCHA from its inception in 1971.

“BGSU hockey was instrumental in the success of the original Central Collegiate Hockey Association. We always had hopes this conference would be back and we are excited to help re-establish it by transferring our rights to the conference name, which represents such an iconic history, tradition and strong reputation,” BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers said. “The Falcons have a combined 12 CCHA tournament and regular-season titles hanging in Slater Family Ice Arena and BGSU was a member of the conference when we won the NCAA Championship in 1984. This conference currently has national championship contenders in it and we look forward to building upon the BGSU hockey story in the new era of the CCHA.”

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The 1984 NCAA championship team

The Falcons won an NCCA championship in 1984 as a member of the conference. They also won CCHA tournament championships in 1973, ’77, ’78, ’79 and ’88 as well as regular-season titles in ’76, ’78, ’79, ’82, ’83, ’84 and ’87.

“We are very excited to once again be affiliated with the CCHA,” said BGSU Hockey Coach Ty Eigner, who played in the CCHA with the Falcons from 1988-93. “The CCHA has a very rich history in college hockey and we look forward to being a part of its bright future.”

BGSU has had six CCHA Players of the Year, including goaltender Mike Liut for the 1976-77 season, forward John Markell (’77-78), defenseman Ken Morrow (’78-79), forward George McPhee, (’81-82), forward Brian Hills (’82-83) and center Brian Holzinger (’94-95). The Falcons also claimed the top rookie in the league three times: McPhee (’78-79), left winger Paul Ysebaert (’84-85) and right winger Nelson Emerson (’86-87).

The league’s Coach of the Year also went to BGSU on five occasions, including three times to Ron Mason (’75-76, ’77-78 and 78-79), Jerry York (’81-82) and Buddy Powers (’94-95).

“Our history with the CCHA helped define BGSU hockey,” BGSU Director of Athletics Bob Moosbrugger said. “We are proud that we were the first CCHA school to earn a national championship in 1984 and we look forward to the future of CCHA Hockey and BGSU’s place in the league.”

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George McPhee

The alignment of the CCHA is being led by Morris Kurtz, a noted athletics and hockey consultant, who has guided the members through legal incorporation, the creation of league bylaws and the establishment of a financial escrow fund.

According to Kurtz, the next steps will include development of league branding and logos and commencement of a search for the conference’s first commissioner, who they hope to have in place no later than July 1.

“After extensive discussion and significant due diligence, it made sense to everyone involved to move in this direction,” Kurtz said of reviving the CCHA name. “The name conveys the current geographic alignment of our members and the CCHA brand has a tremendous amount of equity and goodwill associated with it. What’s old is new again and we look forward to refreshing the brand and identity to fully capture the energy and passion of the institutions it represents.”