The CCHA may be done, but its legacy lives on
Published: Monday, March 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 18, 2013 23:03
The Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) is nearing the end of its existence since being founded in 1971.
After the final CCHA Championship is played in Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich. March 23 and 24, there will be no more CCHA hockey. The slogan the CCHA has adopted in its final year is “Celebrate the Legacy” and I expect that there will be a tough fight all the way to Detroit to be the team that gets to be remembered as the last CCHA champion.
Miami University already clinched the regular season title and senior forward Curtis McKenzie said, “That trophy’s forever ours now.”
That kind of passion is what makes tournaments so special. Whoever wins the tournament will likely have the same feeling.
The CCHA regular season has been dominated by four or five teams since 2002. In the eleven seasons since 02-03, including this season’s regular season standings, only four different schools have won CCHA Championships.
The University of Michigan has won four of the last eleven CCHA Championships. Miami has won three (including this year’s regular season title), and the University of Notre Dame and Ferris State University have each won two.
Looking back on the past decade, Miami leads all CCHA schools in top five finishes since the 2002-2003 season with nine. Michigan has seven while Michigan State University and Notre Dame each have six.
It’s hard to believe schools like Michigan and Michigan State have been CCHA leaders in the past decade if you take a look at this year’s standings.
Michigan sits at seventh place out of eleven teams while Michigan State sits in the basement of the CCHA. I am not convinced this is the legacy these two schools would want to leave the CCHA with. Michigan certainly proved that, as they managed to advance to Detroit for an incredible 24th straight season.
The CCHA has sent many players to the National Hockey League (NHL) and for that reason the CCHA will have a lasting legacy.
Michigan has had 23 players selected, Michigan State 16, and Miami, Notre Dame and Ohio State have all had nine players selected in the NHL draft. The University of Alaska is the only team that has never had a player drafted.
Some notable former CCHA players in the NHL include 2010 Stanley Cup Champion and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (Michigan State 2001-2003), San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle (Miami 1994-1998), and Buffalo Sabres goaltender and 2010 Winter Olympics silver medalist and tournament MVP Ryan Miller (Michigan State 1998-2002).
Other notable CCHA players in the NHL include Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler (Ohio State 2002-2003) and Pittsburgh Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma (Bowling Green 1988-1992).
With a legacy already in place in the NHL, it is relatively easy for me to argue that although the CCHA will no longer be appearing on my College Hockey News app, I will still be able to see the impact that the CCHA is having on hockey.