Monday, February 21, 2011

Extemporaneous Monday Night Rivalry Rant

It's rivalry week.  Though in the WCHA the Seawolves primary rival has been and always will be UAF.  Geography dictates that.  Unless and until the Big Ten Hockey Conference happens and there is some sort of reorganization of college hockey conferences UAA and UAF look destined to be forced to maintain this rivalry from their respective conferences.  It is what it is.  I don't like it much.

No other two schools in the NCAA are forced into this situation.  That's right I said forced.  There is a conscious and dedicated philosophy by schools in the lower 48 to force UAA and UAF into separate conferences.  Why?  Because there isn't a hockey school athletic administrator in the WCHA or CCHA with even a modicum of concern for basic fairness.

There are three NCAA schools which don't have their primary rival in the same conference.  That's Northern Michigan/Michigan Tech and UAH.  Unfortunately for UAH they really don't have anyone they could consider a rival.  They've been the lone representative for college hockey in the southern U.S. for decades.  The CCHA is so pussified about traveling that they'd rather have an uneven number of teams in their conference than let UAH in.  As for NMU and MTU, blame Northern for that.  They were in the WCHA with Tech and chose to switch.

The almighty dollar rules.  The Alaska and Hawaii schools had to lobby the NCAA to get contests played in our state exempted from schedule limits as incentive for other schools to even come up here.  Without that exempt status either/or both the WCHA and CCHA would tell UAA and UAF to take a fucking hike without a second thought.  With the alaska exemption, they all make more money than they otherwise would.  Do UAA and UAF get to play two extra home games a year as incentive for making 7 or 8 road trips to the lower 48?  Fuck no we don't.

UAA and UAF went the independent route for quite a few years.  They put together a conference of independent teams with now defunct teams like USIU in San Diego, Northern Arizona, Air Force and Alabama Huntsville.  When some of those schools folded, college hockey "rescued" UAA and UAF.  The CCHA and WCHA took us both in.  There was some effort to get both schools into the same conference but the moment they realized that would mean teams would have to take the big bad trip to Alaska twice in a season that went out the window.

As part of the agreement to join the conferences both the WCHA and CCHA made UAA and UAF agree to pay for their airfare.  That still exists even now after all those years.  It exists even though in the WCHA every team makes a pretty penny from taking advantage of the "Alaska Exemption".  And by a pretty penny, I'm talking about filling their rink with fans for two extra home games every year.  

In Wisconsin's case, that means hundreds of thousands of extra dollars into what is already one of the richest athletic departments in all of the NCAA.  And they still make us both pay some portion of their team's airfare?  Can you say largess?  It's not only I suspect it's all a violation of United States Anti-Trust laws ... I know it's morally reprehensible.

So last year when the WCHA expanded, an attempt was made to get UAF considered.  It was never going to happen.  I promoted the shit out of here even though I was fully cognizant that it had no real chance.

Hopefully, the BTHC comes to full fruition.  The sooner the better as far as I'm concerned.  Minnesota and Wisconsin will leave the WCHA; Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State will leave the CCHA.  With any luck that will throw the remaining schools into a giant tizzy.  A state that which they all entirely deserve with their historic and ongoing greediness.  

Had they acted morally over the last two decades I'd feel differently.  But they haven't ... so yeah; I hope they get fucked over by the BTHC.  I can find no other reason to feel differently.  The "but it will damage the college hockey landscape" refrain means nothing to me. 

So until all that happens to delight and warm the spiteful cockles of my cold heart, I'll have to be satisfied with the situation as it is.  The funny thing is though, that I dislike Fairbanks enough that I really don't want to play them 4 times a year.  But that's how I guess one should feel about their rival.  

Piss on UAF this weekend and anytime we play them.  But the rest of the time, these two schools need to ensure they walk hand in hand and work together to utilize the clout of the exemption it's fullest possible positive benefit.  The time for the mindset of "Well, we're just happy we're in a conference" or "We're in the best conference in college hockey" is over. 


Suze said...

UA_ is going down like the Titanic!

MavFan said...

DD -
Great commentary...I enjoy reading about the history of these two programs. I can see where you are coming from - definitely a hose job put on both schools up north. Hopefully when realignment occurs with the BTHC, they can get both Alaska teams in the same conference.

I'm surprised you wouldn't want to play UAF four times a year. Isn't it a huge rivalry up there? I'd love to play our rival four times a year. Of course, I don't know who the hell our rival is.

marooned said...

I'd love to see the BTHC force a restructure. But mostly because it would drive some bipolar Sioux fans crazy. Not being invited to play with the rich kids is going to bring out all the trophy bluster. Too bad the western ACHA teams don't join up and make a NCAA Pacific conference.

BTW, if the WCHA cared about hockey as they claim, Huntsville could easily have been included along with Bemidji.

Donald Dunlop said...

The WCHA is an immoral autonomous capitalist collective (aka monopoly) who's only real mandate is to increase it's members bottom line. Never forget that. GNAC teams in all other sports deal with playing two Alaska teams during a season. With that knowledge there can be no conclusion reached regarding the objections to UAA and UAF being in the same conference other than such things are a pitiful excuse/whitewash in the name of profiteering.

Donald Dunlop said...

And hey .. how about that pic?

Anonymous said...

Pic is awesome DD. Btw anyone have any news on Matt Bailey?


Anonymous said...

One thing I heard from more than one player is that they find playing out of conference quite distracting this time of year. They would like to remain focused on the task at hand--the WCHA. I can see their point. -30-

Jimjamesak said...

To be the devils advocate, the GNAC schools also only have to play UAA and UAF once up here, which can be scheduled in one long trip. Hockey conferences tend to like that two game weekend series.

Also the GNAC schools are all the in Northwest, a lot closer and cheaper to Alaska. Plus the conference was founded by schools in the old Pac-West who didn't like the Hawaii schools being admitted and having to be forced to travel.

UAAalumni09 said...

Simple solution, put UAA and UAF in the same conference. Make it a rule that a team can only fly to Alaska once, thus a two year rotation between UAA and UAF. That way all the schools still get there two extra home games a year to make some cash, and have an annual trip to AK. Most teams enjoy it since they leave early, and get to do some team bonding activities.
When(I don't know when, but it will eventually happen) the BTHC forms, the BTHC teams will still need extra games, and will want to play CC, DU, & UND (especially the former WCHA teams that know a huge crowd will come to). In order for the BTHC teams to make the most money, they will want to get those extra games, and will come up to AK.
While the GNAC can come to Alaska once, they play only two games during their trip up here(one at UAA, one at UAF). With the way that hockey works, two games in a weekend series, it willn't work. Not to mention, the GNAC teams also like to come since they also get the exemption for two more games. Plus their travel expenses are a lot easier due to small teams and closer locations that current WCHA & CCHA teams.
The future of the hockey programs in Alaska in the long term will rely on some schools in the pacific to get some programs started. There are more kids in Cali playing hockey than ever before (largely impart to "the great one"). There are some WHL teams in the pacific, and if a good following gets started, a school might be able to make a pitch for a program. However, I do feel that next team in the pacific will happen after my lifetime.

Jimjamesak said...

I don't see a college team from the pacific, outside of Simon Fraizer or UBC, anytime. The WHL has the very limited hockey market locked down at this point with teams all over Washington and Portland and pretty much all the talented players in the area are heading to those teams. Plus the WHL is doing all it can to keep it that way. I just don't see any school taking the risk. College Hockey Inc. really needs to put some work in PNW or tbe area will be forever lost.

BBEF said...

Does she have skates? It doesn't work for me if she doesn't have skates...

Anonymous said...

Last 5 games: 2-2-1
Last 10 games: UAA leads 7-2-1
UA_ under Butterbean: 2-2-0 (Dont forget in his first year you went scoreless against us)
Under Dave Shyiak: We lead 9-5-2
Since UA_ joined the CCHA(95-96 I believe): We lead again 24-17-6

MavFan said...

UAA Alumnus -
I agree that the BTHC is inevitable. However, I wonder why those teams in the Big Ten Conference would schedule those old rivals from their other conferences. If you are Michigan and have to play Ohio State, MState, Wisconsin, and Minnesota four times, I really don't see Michigan turning around and playing UND, DU, CC, or UNO in the non-conference.

What do you think?

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