September 28, 2007
Early Reaction to Wayne State's Impending Departure

By Warren Kozireski

The rumors have been swirling around College Hockey America for several years, and with Wayne State's announcement that it will discontinue its men's hockey program after the coming season, it is now left to the college hockey community and four remaining members of the CHA as to what the future holds.

"This is disappointing on two fronts," Wayne State head coach Bill Wilkinson said. "First is that obviously we won't have a program. Second is how this affects the league.

"I'm not speaking for any team in particular, but some could go to the Atlantic or to the other conferences. If it means reducing the number of scholarships to join the Atlantic, I'm sure some will do it if it's a choice between that or not having a program."

Many have been debating various scenarios behind closed doors for several years. Bemidji State to the WCHA ... Niagara to ECAC Hockey ... UAH to the CCHA ... Niagara and Robert Morris to Atlantic Hockey ... plus countless other possible combinations have been discussed by college hockey followers, but there has been no movement in those directions.

"I think we need to let college hockey take this situation from here," said Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore. "We have six commissioners who need to put their heads together and take leadership. We've known about this possibility for quite some time, but until now it's all been talk. The work starts when something drastic happens. Unfortunately no one has a crisis plan since we always wait until the crisis happens before coming up with a plan."

"I put my faith in our Commissioner (R.H. "Bob") Peters and the WCHA Commissioner Bruce MacLeod. Both are well-respected men in the hockey world and I know they and the other commissioners will do what's best for college hockey."

As to the Wayne State announcement, Wilkinson said, "With no building on campus, it was hard to continue the program and the writing was on the wall.

"I told our players that I will do my best to find everyone a home for next season. It's important for them to realize that they will be on display now every single game which will put more pressure on."

As to his future in hockey, Wilkinson said, "My wife asked me the same question last night. I don't know, but I'm not ready to retire. I would like to continue coaching."