The B1G's Deputy Commissioner Brad Traviolia was recently interviewed by Drew Claussen of USCHO. It was an enlightening article in that it made me want to hit him with florescent bulbs repeatedly. If you'd like to be infuriated by reading the whole thing, do feel free to go ahead and click here. But for now, let's get to the good stuff.
Traviolia said that the conference has a "two-fold goal." One is to help and assist its six schools — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State — toward being successful.
Thank you, savior. How ever would Minnesota hockey survive without the guidance and leadership of you wonderful people at the B1G showing us the way. If not for the help of the B1G leadership, I'm certain that Minnesota hockey would have withered and died by now.
"Coming from a non-hockey background, it’s kind of hard for me to imagine a fan in the state of Minnesota who wouldn’t be excited to see a Michigan or a Michigan State come in to play,"
Let's stop here to chew on this, because there's a lot to digest in a low number of words. "Coming from a non-hockey background." Yeah. That actually makes a lot of sense. Being a person that doesn't understand the hockey culture, it would be easy to fail to recognize that we're slightly provincial. Minnesota's marketing slogan of "The State of Hockey" isn't just some cutesy marketing bullshit. You know why we liked the WCHA? Because the kids we saw in the State Hockey Tournament, which should be a holiday, are the ones filling the rosters at Mankato and St. Cloud and North Dakota (provided that it was only a misdemeanor and they can cross state borders) and Duluth. The connection is something that's grown over years as we watch players grow and develop and make mistakes and have their hearts broken in front of us while chasing their dreams. But hey, that's not a big deal because instead of seeing people we knew and liked (or hated), we're going to be graced with Penn State and Ohio State.
And before I move on, one other little thing: we already had Michigan and Michigan State on the schedule every year. Thanksgiving weekend. It was fun. It also ended after that weekend so we could get back to playing real hockey teams we cared about beating.
And to be polite, I'm going to skip over nearly everything in regards to the B1G hockey tournament and it's attendance. Why? Because it's horrific and even the bobbleheads at the B1G know it. Nobody went to it last year in Michigan. Total attendance was 16,144 for the weekend. The WCHA used to have more than that per session. Every single game outdrew this shit. So what could be a possible solution?
There is also the option of partnering with another conference or multiple conferences to hold a super tournament, so to speak.
Of course. If your kung fu isn't strong enough, bring in others to make it stronger. What could possibly go wrong? How could things get ugly for a B1G hockey conference that will probably be won by an unranked Minnesota team that came in dead last of the Northstar Cup? I'm sure if you partnered with the NCHC, the new premier hockey conference, it wouldn't be an unmitigated bloodbath, right? The only way this could be a worse idea is if the B1G thought about expanding by adding associate schools for the sport.
"Affiliate membership for hockey is an option. I wouldn’t say it’s the only option or it’s the inevitable option, but it’s something that the conference is willing to consider since we’ve somewhat opened that door with lacrosse."
Oh God damn it.
Ok, I need to get back to work now and yell at people in person instead of over the internet. Please go read the whole thing to understand what we're dealing with, but make sure that you've got an empty garbage can nearby for the inevitable rage vomiting.