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