Minnesota State ascended to No. 1 in the national polls and won both the MacNaughton Cup and Broadmoor Trophy during a banner 2014-15 campaign.
Michigan Tech's current success is evoking memories of the Huskies' championship-laden past.
The frenzied crowds at Ferris State make Ewigleben Arena one of college hockey's most revered venues.
The "Madhouse on Mercer" had a lot to celebrate in 2014-15 as Bowling Green won 22 games and was a fixture in the national rankings.
THE WCHA – TRADITION STARTS HERE
The men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association, college hockey's most historic, tradition-rich and successful conference, will proudly mark its 64th season of competition in 2015-16.
Founded in 1951 with seven original members as the Midwest Collegiate Hockey League (MCHL), on to the Western Intercollegiate Hockey League (WIHL) in 1953 and then to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) in 1959, the league has adapted and evolved on numerous occasions over its distinguished history, always with a mindset of growing the game and assisting developing programs however possible.
No collegiate athletic conference – in any sport – can top the impressive list of national scale accomplishments of the WCHA. Since 1951, teams representing this Association have earned a record 37 men's national championships and finished as the national runner-up another 27 times. The league has also produced a record 16 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners, more than 350 All-Americans, 110 Olympians, and more than 450 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League. Just a few of the many stars who have WCHA teams jerseys over the years include the likes of John Mayasich, Tony Esposito, Red Berenson, Bill "Red" Hay, Keith Magnuson, Glenn Anderson, Brett Hull, David Backes, Jonathan Toews, Zach Parise, Matt Read, Dany Heatley, Paul Stastny, Curtis Glencross and Phil Kessel.
Entering its third year under its current configuration, the WCHA consists of ten quality institutions that offer the best in both educational and athletic environments: University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska, Bemidji State University, Bowling Green State University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University, Minnesota State University and Northern Michigan University.
As the past two years have shown, while some of the names may be different, WCHA fans continue to enjoy all of the intensity, excitement and passion that have long been league hallmarks. The 2014-15 season saw the WCHA finish with three nationally-ranked teams, including two in the top ten. The league also produced an NCAA-best three of the country's top-ten winning percentages, while placing a pair of teams in the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament.
From the Last Frontier to Ohio, WCHA schools also boast strong – and sometimes unique – hockey heritages:
• Alabama Huntsville is the only Division I hockey team in the southern United States. Led by current Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, the Chargers made the NCAA tournament as recently as 2010.
• Alaska Anchorage goes back to 1993 as a member of the WCHA and boasts Jay Beagle, Curtis Glencross, and Mike Peluso as alumni who made it to the National Hockey League.
• Alaska traces its varsity hockey program to 1925 and 100 alumni of the school have gone on to play professional hockey.
• Bemidji State carried a strong Division II tradition into Division I and in 2009 made it to the Frozen Four. Over the final three months of the 2014-15 season, the Beavers were among the country's ten-best teams by winning percentage.
• Bowling Green, which in 2014-15 posted its first 20-win season since 1995-96, was a longtime CCHA power – including the 1984 national championship.
• Ferris State became the first MacNaughton Cup champion of the reconfigured WCHA in 2014 and is just three years removed from a berth in the Frozen Four.
• Lake Superior State was a dynasty during the late 1980s and early 1990s, winning three NCAA championships during a seven-year span.
• Michigan Tech was a charter member of the WCHA and has competed in the conference in all but three of its seasons. In 10 of its 11 NCAA tournament appearances, the Huskies made it to the Final Four and won the national title in 1962, 1965, and 1975.
• Minnesota State, the 2015 MacNaughton Cup and Broadmoor Trophy champions, has built a national powerhouse and leads the country with 79 wins over the last three seasons.
• Northern Michigan has split its history between the CCHA and WCHA and was a member of the WCHA when it won the NCAA championship in 1991.
With ten high-quality institutions committed to excellence both on and off the ice, one thing appears certain for the WCHA: the league, like it has been for the better part of seven decades, will continue to be a force on the national stage.
The WCHA – Tradition Starts Here.