I don’t really have much to say that hasn’t been said all over the place, but I don’t think Big 10 hockey is great for the sport. For one, it takes Minnesota and Wisconsin away from some of their natural rivals, and gives them series with Penn State and Ohio State instead. I have talked to a few Gopher fans, and Wisconsin and Michigan are the only Big 10 series they would ever get excited for.
I think the WCHA will be fine. It will be interesting to see how attendance and TV at the Final Five is changed, but the bigger schools like North Dakota have their own TV deal in place, and I am assuming that Minnesota will still be playing North Dakota, Duluth and some of their major rivals around the area.
It’s the CCHA that I think has a big problem on its hands. Northern Michigan, Lake State, etc. get a lot of revenue from the Michigan trip (and Michigan State to a lesser extent), and while Minnesota is likely to keep their rivalries, I see much less incentive for the Wolverines to bus up to Marquette for the weekend.
In the end, I think it just sets a bad precedent. College hockey is saying that expanding into Iowa and Indiana and Oklahoma and wherever else is more important than keeping historical programs like Lake State and Bowling Green alive. It reminds me of the NHL. Gary Bettman was so obsessed with expanding into the Southern United States that he forgot about his core group of fans. I think we all have seen how well teams in Phoenix, Atlanta and Miami have worked. College hockey could be going down the same path, and it is a little scary.