It's All About History, Tradition & Success
The men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association, college hockey's most historic, tradition-rich and successful conference, proudly marks it's 62nd season of competition in 2013-14.
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. The new-look WCHA covers a wide, diverse geographical area that includes five time zones and consists of ten quality institutions that offer the best in both educational and athletic environments in University of Alabama Huntsville, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Bemidji State University, Bowling Green State University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University, Minnesota State University, Mankato and Northern Michigan University.
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 produced a record 16 Hobey Baker Memorial Award Winners – given annually to the top player in Division 1 college hockey and including the 2012-13 recipient in Drew LeBlanc, more than 350 All-Americans and 110 Olympians, and more than 430 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League. Just a few of the many professional stars who have worn WCHA-member team jerseys over the years include the likes of former greats John Mayasich, Tony Esposito, Red Berenson, Bill 'Red' Hay, Keith Magnuson, Glenn Anderson and Brett Hull, and current standouts like David Backes, Jonathan Toews, Zach Parise, Matt Read, Dany Heatley, Paul Stastny, Curtis Glencross, Phil Kessel and Thomas Vanek. In the most recent Olympic Winter Games held in Vancouver in 2010, 10 WCHA alums played for team USA, two played for gold medal-winning Canada and one for Finland and conference players have competed for the likes of the United States, Canada, Italy, Norway, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Finland and France in international competitions.
Crowds at WCHA-member games are always among the most enthusiastic in all of sports, with the league drawing in excess of 1,000,000 fans for 20 consecutive seasons through 2013. The Association's annual playoff championship, contested since 1959, has continued to be among the most successful post-season collegiate tournaments in the country. Held for 12 consecutive seasons at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul between 2000-2013, the WCHA Final Five has drawn 1,339,370 fans in 20 years overall for an average attendance in excess of 13,300 per game. Beginning in 2014, the WCHA will alternate its tournament championship between two of the country's premier sports facilities in Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids and Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul.
In terms of exposure, more than 200 WCHA mens' games have been typically televised annually, including the league's playoff championship live by Fox Sports North. The league also boasts of college hockey's longest running weekly conference radio show, known as "This Week in the WCHA". The league's official website, WCHA.com, is being relaunched with an all-new look for 2013-14, and includes the fully-functional WCHA.com/mobile site.
For more than 61 years, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association has stood at the top of the collegiate hockey world. And with it's great brand, rich tradition, well-documented history of success, dedicated and enthusiastic fans, top-notch programs and a 100% commitment to excellence across the board, this Association will continue to stand second to none.