We Are ... The WCHA
The Men's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, one of the most historic, tradition-rich and successful conferences in all of collegiate athletics, proudly marks its 68th season of competition in 2019-20 under the leadership and guidance of Commissioner Bill Robertson.
Founded in 1951 as the Midwest Collegiate Hockey League (MCHL), then renamed the Western Intercollegiate Hockey League (WIHL) in 1953 and then on to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) in 1959, the league has evolved on numerous occasions over seven decades, always with a mindset of growing the game and assisting developing programs however possible.
Today's men's WCHA covers a wide, diverse geographical area that encompasses five time zones and more than 4,200 miles and consists of ten top-quality institutions that offer the best in both educational and athletic environments. The 10 current men's member teams are University of Alabama in Huntsville (Chargers), University of Alaska Anchorage (Seawolves), University of Alaska (Nanooks), Bemidji State University (Beavers), Bowling Green State University (Falcons), Ferris State University (Bulldogs), Lake Superior State University (Lakers), Michigan Technological University (Huskies), Minnesota State University (Mavericks) and Northern Michigan University (Wildcats).
No collegiate athletic conference – in any sport – can top the impressive list of national scale accomplishments of the WCHA. Since 1951, member teams have earned a record 37 men's national championships while finishing as the national runner-up 27 times.
The league has also produced a record 16 Hobey Baker Memorial Award Winners, has had more than 450 of its alums go on to the National Hockey League, and boasts 403 All-Americans and 120 Olympians.
Just a few of the stars who have worn WCHA-member team jerseys are the likes of John Mayasich, Bill 'Red' Hay, John Matchefts, Bill Reichart and Bill Steenson in the 1950s; Lou Angotti, 'Red' Berenson, Tony Esposito, 'Huffer' Christiansen and Keith Magnuson in the 1960s; Curt Giles, Doug Palazzari, Mark Johnson, Bill Nyrop, Tom Ross and Mike Zuke in the 1970s; Chris Chelios, Brett Hull, Tony Hrkac, Tom Kurvers and Bill Watson in the 1980s; Scott Beattie, Brian Bonin, Derek Plante and Brian Swanson in the 1990s; David Backes, Mark Hartigan, Matt Carle, Dany Heatley, Zach Parise, Jonathan Toews and Thomas Vanek in the 2000s and Colton Parayko, Atte Tolvanen, C.J. Suess, Jake Lucchini and Michael Bitzer in the 2010s.
When it comes to coaching, WCHA teams have benefited from the expertise of some of the best minds in the game. The likes of Murray Armstrong, Amo Bessone, Herb Brooks, Rick Comley, Bob Daniels, Gino Gasparini, Mike Hastings, Vic Heyliger, Don Lucia, John Mariucci, John MacInnes, Bob Johnson, Jeff Sauer, Mike Sertich, Charles 'Lefty' Smith and Doug Woog have patrolled the benches of the WCHA.
The WCHA regular season championship has been won by some of college hockey's greatest teams over the years, with the winner taking home the fabled MacNaughton Cup.
Current league members Michigan Tech (7), Minnesota State (4), Northern Michigan, Bemidji State and Ferris State (1 apiece) have combined to win 14 regular season titles, including the league's last six crowns.
Since 2016-17, the WCHA has brought the singular intensity and passion of playoff hockey directly to its member institutions' fans with all rounds of the WCHA Postseason Tournament having been hosted on-campus.
The three-week, eight-team tournament features best-of-three quarterfinal and semifinal rounds and culminates with a one-game championship round hosted by the highest remaining seed to determine the winner of the Jeff Sauer WCHA Championship Trophy and the league's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship.
For the second-straight season, WCHA fans can watch more than 180 of the league's games live on FloHockey.tv, the league's streaming partner.
FloHockey will once again stream every WCHA league contest, along with each team's non-conference home contests and the WCHA postseason tournament.
Fans can also visit the FloHockey.tv website for additional WCHA-specific content throughout the season.
College hockey's longest running weekly conference radio show, "This Week in the WCHA" has been a fixture for more than 17 seasons, and the league's official website – WCHA.com continues to bring new features and developments to fans everywhere.
|Alabama Huntsville, the only Division I hockey program in the Deep South, reached the WCHA Playoffs for the third time in 2018-19.|
|Alaska Anchorage, which originally joined the WCHA in 1993, boasts Curtis Glencross, Mike Peluso and Jay Beagle – the only player ever to win the Kelly Cup, Calder Cup and Stanley Cup – as alumni who made it to the NHL.|
|Alaska traces its varsity hockey program to 1925 and counts more than 100 alumni that have played professional hockey, including 2019 Stanley Cup champion Colton Parayko of the St. Louis Blues.|
|Bemidji State, which advanced to the 2009 Division I Frozen Four, captured its first MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular season champion in 2016-17.|
|Bowling Green, which recorded its fifth-straight 20-win season in 2018-19, returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 20 years last season. The Falcons have more than 100 games since joining the WCHA.|
|Ferris State owns a MacNaughton Cup and a WCHA Playoff title along with two NCAA Elite Eight appearances since joining the WCHA in 2013-14.|
|Lake Superior State made its first appearance in the WCHA Playoff semifinals in 2018-19 after a regular season that saw the Lakers capture the school's first Great Lakes Invitational title.|
|Michigan Tech, a charter member of the WCHA and a three-time national champion, ranked fifth nationally with 97 victories during a run of four-straight 20-win seasons from 2014-15 to 2017-18 – a stretch that included back-to-back WCHA playoff championships and three NCAA tournament trips.|
|Minnesota State has built a national powerhouse with a program-record run of seven-straight 20-win seasons, while hoisting four of the last five MacNaughton Cups and capturing the 2019 WCHA Playoff championship.|
|Northern Michigan, which was a member of the WCHA when it won the NCAA championship in 1991, returned to prominence in 2017-18 with its first 25-win season since 2001-02 and reached the semifinals of the WCHA Playoffs in 2018-19 after a second-place finish in the regular season.|