NCHC commissioner considers Big Ten hockey teams 'friends'

Commissioner said new league is not competing with Big Ten.

Josh Fenton, NCHC commissioner “We all have an obligation to work together to ensure college hockey is viable and strong long into the future.”

Josh Fenton understands the history and traditions of college hockey. The Minnesota native grew up watching the old WCHA, and now he’ll help lead the sport into a new era.

Fenton is the commissioner of the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference. His staff and eight of the country’s premier college hockey programs — North Dakota, Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State, Colorado College, Denver, Miami (Ohio), Omaha and Western Michigan — will attempt to increase national exposure of the sport by breaking tradition.

Fenton spent 12-plus years in various hockey-focused athletic roles at Miami (Ohio), most recently as senior associate athletic director of finance and administration, before taking on this new endeavor.

Shaking up the college hockey landscape offended many fans, but Fenton believes the birth of the NCHC and Big Ten hockey only will strengthen the game. And though it looks as if the NCHC is going head-to-head with the Big Ten by scheduling coinciding media days and conference tournaments in the Twin Cities, Fenton said that appearance is deceiving and that all hockey conferences need to work together for the betterment of the sport.

The NCHC will hold its conference semifinals and finals, the Frozen Faceoff, on Friday and Saturday at Target Center. The Big Ten hockey tournament runs Thursday through Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.

 

Q: With these scheduling conflicts, it appears the new hockey conferences are setting up to be rivals. Was this intentional and how is this perceived by your member schools?

A: I think we all have an obligation to work together to ensure college hockey is viable and strong long into the future. Whether that is the Big Ten, which has institutions that compete at the highest level of college athletics, or whether that’s our conference that has Division II and Division III members.

I say our ‘friends across town at the Big Ten ’cause I do consider them friends. … We have to work together in different and unique ways to make sure the game is strong and viable.

You ask whether it’s competition, I don’t know if I necessarily look at it that way. … I do think we have great product. I think we’ve got great institutions. I think our history and tradition in the sport is off the charts. I think we have the opportunity to become one of the premier conferences in college hockey.

 

Q: How do you address the perception that the NCHC is a superconference with eight of the country’s elite teams?

A: I guess you could look at it that way. Denver has won seven national championships, North Dakota has won seven national championships, Duluth has won one. Colorado College has won a couple. So there is a lot of history and tradition there.

I don’t know if I look at us as the quote power conference. Certainly we have institutions that have a lot of competitive success in the past.

I go back to why these eight schools came together, which is so cool and unique. Miami University and Western Michigan compete at the FBS level, midmajor. You’ve got North Dakota, Denver, Nebraska-Omaha that compete at the FCS level. Then you’ve got St. Cloud State and Duluth that compete at the Division II level, and Colorado College competes at the Division III level. I think it’s so neat these schools could come together and say we’ve got some like-minded feelings about our hockey programs that this could be very successful and this could really work.

You look at the institutions within our conference … they’re institutions where hockey is a big deal. It’s certainly a big deal at the Big Ten, but football is a pretty big deal at Michigan and Ohio State. It’s unique in that regard. And then I think there was this desire for national exposure. I’m careful when I say that, because I don’t want to seem as though we’re covering the country coast to coast, though we do have teams in three time zones. I think there is a little national feel to it.

 

Q: Will these new so-called “power hockey conferences” hurt the little guys of Division I college hockey?

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 126 1st OT 1:22
Sacramento 129
Minnesota 85 4th Qtr 2:51
Golden State 102
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Gophers head coach?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close