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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With USCHO's Matt Mackinder

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 8 at 2:00 p.m. ET, USCHO CHA Correspondent Matt Mackinder stops by "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. Matt will be taking all of your questions on College Hockey America.

Matt Mackinder

Matt has been a contributor to USCHO since 2000 and is their CHA correspondent. In addition, he has been a staff writer for Michigan Hockey since 1997 and USA Junior Hockey Magazine since 2003. He is also the editor-in-chief of Michigan College Hockey.net.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Matt won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 8th, but feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Welcome back to "Tuesday @ The Rink". We are now joined by USCHO CHA correspondent Matt Mackinder.
Matt Mackinder: Hello everybody, it's great to be here and talk some CHA hockey!

Lewis Skolnick (Niagara Falls, NY): Hi Matt! I love your weekly columns. I was wondering how you think Wayne State will fair this season Against Niagara? I mean Niagara has owned them the last 3 seasons. GO PURPS!
Matt Mackinder: Hey there, Lewis! A few years back, Wayne State owned Niagara, but the last couple years it's been 180 degrees. I think both teams this year match-up quite well and even though NU won in OT and tied last weekend, it could easily go the other way in February in Detroit.

Motor City Log: Does college hockey need a massive realignment to keep travel costs down and also to save the CHA?
Matt Mackinder: I would agree with that. If I had the power, I'd put Wayne State in the CCHA, Bemidji and Air Force in WCHA, Niagara in Hockey East, Robert Morris in Atlantic Hockey and have UAH go to either Hockey East or Atlantic Hockey. Even in the CCHA, you've got the teams in the Midwest, but then Alaska-Fairbanks and Nebraska-Omaha.

Jillian (Temperance, Mich.): Matt What should the college hockey community do to help the CHA maintain its automatic bid??
Matt Mackinder: Someone needs to decide and quick. The Air Force move to AHA was unexpected and frankly, doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Either an already existing D-I team needs to join the CHA or a club team needs to get a budget together...quickly. The CHA is a hidden gem among college hockey and for it to not be represented on the grand scale that is the NCAA tourney would be an injustice.

Barry Becker (Detroit): What's going on in terms of recruiting a sixth team for the CHA to replace Air Force for next season. There were strong rumors that Kennesaw State was going to add Ice Hockey to its program but no news yet. Any guesses as to the long term health of the league including increasing its size to more than the minimum 6 teams. What about the possibility of some of the teams from the CCHA and WCHA that have difficulty competing coming over to the CHA?
Matt Mackinder: Kennesaw State is out. That's all the CHA office will confirm at this point. No CCHA team or WCHA team will have problems coming to the CHA, though travel might be an issue for some of the Minnesota teams and teams in that area. A five-team CHA I can't see happening for more than a year or two, so I would hope something gets squared away by April or May.

Nolen (Clarksville): What are your thoughts on Alabama-Huntsville so far and also who do you expect to be the front runner for the CHA championsip?
Matt Mackinder: Bemidji State came out flying with their sweeps over Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota State, but then split with Air Force. I think until the champs get knocked off, that's who you put the bullseye on. Huntsville is a team no one likes to play. It wouldn't shock me to see a Bemidji-UAH CHA final again.

David (Ann Arbor): It's early but OSU losing 4 straight to go 2-5-1? Quinnipiac at 8-2 with 2 quality ECAC wins (and their only losses at Yost.), Bemidji State of the CHA at 5-1 with 4 W's over the WCHA, Minnesota at .500. What's going on?
Matt Mackinder: God bless college hockey! No one figured any of that would happen, no one. It's stunning, but at the same time, great for the game. I check the scores every weekend and I always think I know who should win, but this season, it's basically a roll of the dice. I love it!
Matt Mackinder: I honestly think it was, even though Robert Morris lost to Penn State. Talking to some people around the league, some feel that maybe having those teams play club teams was a way of letting the club school's AD's see that maybe a D-I jump wasn't out of the question. However, no one will confirm this, though some wish it would happen.

John (Detroit): Matt Do you feel that the decision of Wayne State and RMU to play Club teams earlier this season was good for the league? Not for hockey in general ...but for this league.

Motor City Moonbeam: Hey Matt, is Wayne State ging to step up and fix the Coliseum before the Tourney. It needs some sprucing up for sure.
Matt Mackinder: Yes, a few roof patches never hurt anyone! The Coliseum is a dump, but a GREAT atmosphere. I've always been a huge fan, but a roof patch here and a bigger concession/souvenir area, and voila! It's also actually in the city of Detroit, instead of 45 minutes away in Plymouth...and the players love that.

David: Which Schools do you as likely new additions to Division 1 Hockey over the next few years?
Matt Mackinder: Penn State and Oakland University could make strong cases, as could maybe a couple others. The only problem with that is D-I hockey is school-funded where club players pay to play. Not a whole lot of schools have the cash flow and those that do put it into football and basketball.

John - Holt, MI: Hey Matt. Michigan always seems to lose four or five of their top players to the World Juniors during the Great Lakes Invitational. Why is this happening when there are so many quality players accross the Nation. Granted, Michigan is loaded, again; but this situation is going to hinder them when they play Colorado College in the first round of the of the tourney, in what would have been an excellent matchup if Michigan were to dress a full roster. Thanks Matt. Go Blue!
Matt Mackinder: Having the top-end players end up at Michigan says a lot for Michigan's staff and recruiting. Being across town from the U.S. NTDP is a plus as Red Berenson and Billy Powers and Mel Pearson can go there any time and scout and not spend a dime on gas or airfare. The situation does hinder Michigan at the GLI, but last year they got to the finals only to lose in OT on a miscommunication. The CC game still has the potential to be a great game in my book.

Scott (Pittsburgh): It seems like the CHA is stronger, on the whole, than Atlantic Hockey, based on the interconference records last season. Why do you think Robert Morris had made its initial move to join Atlantic Hockey as opposed to the CHA?
Matt Mackinder: I would think because of the instability of the CHA. Not so much that it's a small league, but that to the average non-hockey fan, the CHA looks like a thrown-together league with six teams from across the nation that needed a league. I remember talking to a couple coaches back when the CHA started and they called the CHA a 'pseudo league.' That has changed. I think RMU went to the CHA for a better chance percentage-wise, to make the NCAA tourney.

Gloomy Gus (royal oak, mi): There's always talk about who might be the next school to go d-1, but what about the next school to fold up shop? Who do you hear might be in trouble? btw...Go Findlay!
Matt Mackinder: If Wayne State's AD had his way, WSU would fold. He's not a hockey person and has made no move whatsoever to put a rink on campus, but damn if he hasn't renovated the football stadium for the sad sack football team and added a Fenway Park-like wall for the baseball team. Hockey is the booming sport here, but he seems to have zero interest in promoting the sport at Wayne State. Niagara is solid as are the others, so to answer your question, I would not be shocked at all to see Wayne State gone in a few years.

Mike (Erie): How big a factor do you think that the uncertainty about the CHA's survival is in this search for a sixth team? I think Mercyhurst would be great in the CHA - better travel situation, among other things - but I can definitely understand why a team would be reluctant to move to a conference that could possibly lose another team.
Matt Mackinder: Mercyhurst's women's team is in the CHA, so yes, it would be ideal to have the men with the CHA as well. But with, like you said, with the uncertainty, all we can really do is sit and wait and see what spring brings next year.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Matt this afternoon.
Matt Mackinder: Thanks everyone for being here today, I appreciate the time and for some of you, hopefully I'll see you at the Fairgrounds in March.
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us again next week for "Tuesday @ The Rink". One of our guests will be ECAC Commissioner Steve Hagwell. Keep checking back at CSTV.com to find out who else will be joining us. See you next week.

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