Central Collegiate Hockey Association

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Central Collegiate Hockey Association
CommissionerDon Lucia (since 2020)
Sports fielded
DivisionDivision I
No. of teams9
HeadquartersDeephaven, Minnesota
RegionMidwestern United States
Official websiteccha.com

The Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) is a college athletic conference in the Midwestern United States that participates in the NCAA's Division I as a hockey-only conference. The current CCHA began play in the 2021–22 season; a previous incarnation, which the current CCHA recognizes as part of its history, existed from 1971 to 2013. Four of its nine members are located in the state of Michigan, with three in Minnesota and one each in Ohio and South Dakota. It has also had teams located in Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Nebraska over the course of its existence.

The CCHA was disbanded after the 2012–13 season as the result of a conference realignment stemming from the Big Ten Conference (of which three CCHA schools; Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State, were primary members) choosing to sponsor Division I ice hockey beginning in the 2013–14 season. The remaining CCHA members received invitations to other conferences, such as the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), Hockey East, and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), which itself had been depleted by the Big Ten and NCHC. The conference's last game before its hiatus was the final of the 2013 CCHA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, where Notre Dame beat Michigan 3–1 to win the Mason Cup championship.

On February 18, 2020, seven schools who had applied to leave the WCHA announced they would form a new CCHA for the 2021–22 season, citing a more compact geographic footprint and a desire to improve regional alignment, among other reasons. St. Thomas, a former D-III school, joined them later that year as the CCHA's newest member as well as the conference's eighth team.



The CCHA began in 1971 as an NCAA conference composed of Bowling Green, Ohio, Ohio State and Saint Louis.[1] After adding Lake Superior State for year two, both Ohio State and Ohio withdrew from the conference, leaving the CCHA with a scant 3 members. Despite the trouble, the three teams rode out the rough patch and the league began to grow with the addition of Western Michigan and the return of Ohio State.[2]

NCAA acceptance[edit]

Up until 1976 the NCAA had only offered bids to the tournament from teams in either ECAC Hockey or the WCHA. Because those were the only two Division I conferences for most years there was no controversy but, after the CCHA had proved to be more than just a flash in the pan, the tournament had to change. Beginning with the 1977 Championship the NCAA allowed itself the freedom to add up to four additional teams to the tournament with the understanding that the CCHA tournament champion would receive one of the additional bids. Bowling Green won the first tournament game for the conference but it was not until Northern Michigan reached the championship game in 1980 that the league began to gain acceptance.

WCHA defectors[edit]

1981 saw a major shift in college ice hockey with four teams from the WCHA defecting to the CCHA. The move was done as a way to reduce travel costs as well as provide the new team with a better chance at making the NCAA Tournament (many of the CCHA teams were still seen as lesser programs). Michigan State made the tournament in its first three season of CCHA play but it was founding member Bowling Green that won the conference's first national championship in 1984.[3]

National prominence[edit]

Bill Beagan served as commissioner of the CCHA from 1985 to 1998.[4] He implemented a pre-season training camp for referees, despite the officials going on strike in protest.[5] He developed a working relationship with the NHL to develop future officials in collegiate hockey.[6]

He sought to have CCHA games televised as a game-of-the-week,[4] and signed the first national television contract for colleges in the United States.[7] He brought in cable television partners which included the Pro Am Sports System and Fox Sports Net.[6] He introduced instant replay to the CCHA in 1993, to be used at its league championships, and arranged for the CCHA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament finals to be played at Joe Louis Arena.[8] He was credited with coining the phrase, "Road to the Joe", in reference to end-of-year tournament culminating at the Joe Louis Arena.[5]

Prior to Beagan's arrival, the CCHA had not been a profitable association. After 10 years as commissioner, the league had made $4 million.[7][4] Profits were shared with the schools, which were reinvested into hockey programs and new arenas.[4] On-ice results improved during his tenure, and CCHA teams won six NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament championships.[7][4] In addition, Beagan convinced the University of Notre Dame to resurrect its hockey program in 1992.[4]

Building on Bowling Green State's national title in 1984, the CCHA established itself further as the Michigan State Spartans won their second national championship and first as a member of the CCHA in 1986, and the Lake Superior State Lakers won the 1988 national championship, their first NCAA championship.[9] The Lake Superior State Lakers would continue their NCAA success by winning both the 1992 and 1994 NCAA ice hockey championships and finishing as the national runner-up in 1993.[9] In addition to the success of the Lakers and Spartans, the Michigan Wolverines began a streak of 22 consecutive tournament appearances in 1991 and won national titles in 1996 and 1998.[9] While the conference and most of its teams were stable throughout the early 21st century, the CCHA suffered a mortal blow at the end of the decade.

Realignment and discontinuation[edit]

Pennsylvania State University announced on September 17, 2010 the transition of its men's and women's American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) programs to NCAA Division I status in 2012.[10] Just over a month earlier, then-commissioner Tom Anastos publicly stated that the CCHA would strongly consider adding Penn State as the conference's 12th member.[11] Instead, the league was left to deal with the imminent departures of Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State when the Big Ten Conference disclosed on March 21, 2011 its intention to establish a men's ice hockey circuit to begin play in the 2013–14 season, as the conference now had enough hockey teams to earn an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament for its champion.[12] Joining the existing CCHA members were the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin from the WCHA, as well as Penn State.[12]

The next school slated to leave the CCHA in 2013 was Miami University which became a charter member of the NCHC on July 15, 2011.[13] Western Michigan accepted an invitation to join the new league just over two months later on September 22.[14]

The demise of the CCHA was further accelerated when five members decided to move to the WCHA following the 2012–13 campaign. Northern Michigan University, returning to the WCHA after leaving in 1997, was the first to make the announcement on July 20,[15] followed by Alaska, Ferris State and Lake Superior State on August 26[16] and Bowling Green on October 4.[17]

Notre Dame accepted an invitation to the Hockey East Association in a press conference on October 5, 2011.[18]


On June 28, 2019, seven schools from the ten-member WCHA began the process of withdrawing from the conference, with the intent of forming a new conference for the 2021–22 season. These seven schools were Bemidji State, Bowling Green (who had retained the rights to the CCHA name), Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan. The seven schools cited a more compact geographic footprint as one reason for the move; the remaining three WCHA members, Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska and Alaska–Anchorage, all geographic outliers in the WCHA, were notably absent.[19] On February 18, 2020 these seven schools announced they would begin competing in a new CCHA in 2021–22.[20] Later that year, the University of St. Thomas, a former D-III school who had been granted a waiver by the NCAA earlier in the year to transition directly to D-I, was announced to be joining the new CCHA as a member on July 29, 2020, bringing the membership up to an even eight teams.[21]

Don Lucia, a former head coach at Alaska, Colorado College, and Minnesota, was named as commissioner of the new CCHA on June 17, 2020.[22] A new league logo was introduced shortly thereafter.[23]

On May 17, 2022, Augustana University was announced as the league's ninth member. The Vikings will play a partial league schedule in the 2023–24 and 2024-25 seasons before playing a full league schedule in 2025-26.[24]

Current members[edit]

Institution Location Nickname Founded Affiliation Enrollment Joined Women's conference Previous conference Primary conference Colors
Augustana University Sioux Falls, South Dakota Vikings 1860 Private/Lutheran (ELCA) 2,080 2023 N/A N/A NSIC
Bemidji State University Bemidji, Minnesota Beavers 1919 Public 6,354 2021 WCHA WCHA NSIC
Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, Ohio Falcons 1910 Public 20,395 2021[a] N/A WCHA MAC    
Ferris State University Big Rapids, Michigan Bulldogs 1884 Public 14,707 2021[b] N/A WCHA GLIAC
Lake Superior State University Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Lakers 1946 Public 2,637 2021[c] N/A WCHA GLIAC
Michigan Technological University Houghton, Michigan Huskies 1885 Public 7,270 2021[d] N/A WCHA GLIAC
Minnesota State University Mankato, Minnesota Mavericks 1868 Public 17,357 2021 WCHA WCHA NSIC
Northern Michigan University Marquette, Michigan Wildcats 1899 Public 6,764 2021[e] N/A WCHA GLIAC
University of St. Thomas Saint Paul, Minnesota Tommies 1885 Private/Catholic (diocesan) 9,878 2021 WCHA MIAC
  1. ^ Bowling Green was previously a member of the CCHA from 1971 to 2013.
  2. ^ Ferris State was previously a member of the CCHA from 1978 to 2013.
  3. ^ Lake Superior State was previously a member of the CCHA from 1972 to 2013.
  4. ^ Michigan Tech was previously a member of the CCHA from 1981 to 1984.
  5. ^ Northern Michigan was previously a member of the CCHA from 1977 to 1984, and again from 1997 to 2013.

Former members[edit]

Institution Location Nickname Founded Affiliation Joined Left Subsequent
University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, Alaska Nanooks 1917 Public 1995 2013 WCHA Independent
University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, Illinois Flames 1946 Public 1982 1996 dropped program as school sponsored sport
Kent State University Kent, Ohio Golden Flashes 1910 Public 1992 1994 dropped program as school sponsored sport
Miami University Oxford, Ohio RedHawks 1809 Public 1980 2013 NCHC
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan Wolverines 1817 Public 1981 2013 Big Ten
Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan Spartans 1855 Public 1981 2013 Big Ten
University of Nebraska Omaha Omaha, Nebraska Mavericks 1908 Public 1999 2010 WCHA NCHC
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, Indiana Fighting Irish 1842 Private/Catholic 1981
Dropped to club status
Hockey East
Big Ten
Ohio University Athens, Ohio Bobcats 1804 Public 1971 1973 dropped program as school sponsored sport
Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio Buckeyes 1870 Public 1971
Big Ten
Big Ten
Saint Louis University St. Louis, Missouri Billikens 1818 Private/Catholic 1971 1979 dropped program as school sponsored sport
Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, Michigan Broncos 1903 Public 1975 2013 NCHC

Membership timeline[edit]

Augustana UniversityUniversity of St. Thomas (Minnesota)Minnesota State University, MankatoBemidji State UniversityUniversity of Nebraska OmahaUniversity of Alaska FairbanksKent State UniversityUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoUniversity of Notre DameUniversity of MichiganMichigan Technological UniversityMichigan State UniversityMiami UniversityFerris State UniversityNorthern Michigan UniversityWestern Michigan UniversityLake Superior State UniversitySaint Louis UniversityOhio State UniversityOhio UniversityBowling Green State University


Regular-season champions[edit]

Conference Records[edit]

Team's records against current conference opponents. (As of the end of the 2020-21 season.)

School Bemidji State Bowling Green Ferris State Lake Superior State Michigan Tech Minnesota State Northern Michigan St. Thomas Total
W L T W L T W L T W L T W L T W L T W L T W L T W L T Win%
Bemidji State 13 15 3 16 12 5 33 36 6 18 16 6 61 62 21 15 8 6 24 3 1 180 152 48 .537
Bowling Green 15 13 3 76 60 13 86 78 13 19 19 5 9 17 3 57 53 10 0 0 0 263 241 47 .520
Ferris State 12 16 5 60 76 13 57 77 15 16 24 1 8 29 2 31 69 6 2 0 0 186 291 42 .399
Lake Superior State 36 33 6 78 86 13 77 57 15 25 49 8 3 25 1 48 75 13 1 0 0 268 325 56 .456
Michigan Tech 16 18 6 19 19 5 24 16 1 49 25 8 23 43 10 76 76 13 10 3 1 217 200 44 .518
Minnesota State 62 61 21 18 10 3 29 8 2 25 3 1 43 23 10 18 6 3 16 9 2 198 131 42 .590
Northern Michigan 8 15 6 53 57 10 69 31 6 75 48 13 76 76 13 6 18 3 0 0 0 287 245 51 .536
St. Thomas 3 24 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 3 10 1 9 16 2 0 0 0 15 53 4 .236

Conference arenas[edit]

School Arena Location Capacity
Augustana Midco Arena Sioux Falls, South Dakota 3,082
Bemidji State Sanford Center Bemidji, Minnesota 4,700
Bowling Green Slater Family Ice Arena Bowling Green, Ohio 5,000
Ferris State Robert L. Ewigleben Arena Big Rapids, Michigan 2,493
Lake Superior State Taffy Abel Arena Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan 4,000
Michigan Tech MacInnes Student Ice Arena Houghton, Michigan 4,466[26]
Minnesota State Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center Mankato, Minnesota 4,832
Northern Michigan Berry Events Center Marquette, Michigan 3,902
St. Thomas St. Thomas Ice Arena Mendota Heights, Minnesota 1,000


At the conclusion of each regular season schedule the coaches of each CCHA team vote which players they choose to be on the three All-Conference Teams:[27] first team, second team and rookie team. Additionally they vote to award up to 9 of the 12 individual trophies to an eligible player at the same time (depending upon the year). The CCHA also awards a Perani Cup, a Humanitarian Award, which are awarded rather than voted upon, and a Most Valuable Player in Tournament which is voted on at the conclusion of the conference tournament. None of the individual awards conferred by the CCHA have been given for the entire existence of the conference. Only the Tournament MVP was awarded in the inaugural CCHA season, but that award was discontinued thereafter until 1982.[28][29][30] Several of the aforementioned awards were revived along with the league in 2021–22. The awards presented by the original CCHA for best offensive and defensive defenseman were merged into a single award for best defenseman, and the original CCHA's award for best defensive forward was folded into the award for best forward.[31]

All-Decade Teams[edit]

1970s All-Decade Team[edit]

1970s All-Decade Team[32]

1980s All-Decade Team[edit]

1980s All-Decade Team[32]

1990s All-Decade Team[edit]

1990s All-Decade Team[32]

2000-2013 All-Decade Team[edit]

2000-2013 All-Decade Team[33]


  1. ^ "History of the CCHA". College Hockey Historical Archive. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  2. ^ "2012-13 CCHA Media Guide". ISSUU.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
  3. ^ "Official 2008 NCAA Men's and Women's Ice Hockey Records Book" (PDF). Official ... NCAA Men's and Women's Ice Hockey Records Book. Indianapolis: National Collegiate Athletic Association: 54, 58. ISSN 1089-0092. Retrieved 2008-05-23.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bacon, John U. (2001). Blue Ice: The Story of Michigan Hockey. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. pp. 284–288. ISBN 0-472-09781-4 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ a b Mackinder, Matt (September 22, 2011). "Checking In: Former CCHA commissioner Bill Beagan". U.S. College Hockey Online. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Bill Beagan". Bobby Orr Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Bill Beagan Was A CCHA Commissioner and NHL Referee". History-Articles.com. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  8. ^ Wallace, William N. (December 22, 1993). "College Hockey Report". The New York Times. New York, New York. p. B14.
  9. ^ a b c https://www.ncaa.com/history/icehockey-men/d1[bare URL]
  10. ^ ""Penn State to Add Men's and Women's Varsity Ice Hockey," Pennsylvania State University Athletics, Friday, September 17, 2010". Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  11. ^ Gholston, Sandy (August 10, 2010). "Anastos to the Detroit News: Penn State 'very attractive' to the CCHA". Mlive.com. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
  12. ^ a b Staff (March 21, 2011). "Big Ten confirms plan to sponsor hockey starting in 2013–14 season". USCHO. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  13. ^ ""New DI hockey conference formed," NCAA.com, Friday, July 15, 2011". Archived from the original on March 17, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  14. ^ ""WMU To Join National Collegiate Hockey Conference," Western Michigan University Athletics, Thursday, September 22, 2011". Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  15. ^ "Northern Michigan to Rejoin WCHA Family," Western Collegiate Hockey Association press release, Wednesday, July 20, 2011.
  16. ^ ""College hockey: Lake Superior State, Ferris State, Alaska-Fairbanks join WCHA," The Bemidji (MN) Pioneer, Saturday, August 27, 2011". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  17. ^ "Bowling Green State University to Join WCHA Family," Western Collegiate Hockey Association press release, Wednesday, October 4, 2011.
  18. ^ "Notre Dame joining Hockey East". Associated Press. October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  19. ^ "Statement Regarding Hockey League Affiliation" (Press release). Bowling Green Falcons. June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  20. ^ Johnson, Randy (February 18, 2020). "CCHA will be new name for seven teams leaving WCHA in 2021-22". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  21. ^ "New Central Collegiate Hockey Association Welcomes the University of St. Thomas" (Press release). Central Collegiate Hockey Association. July 29, 2020. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  22. ^ "Ex-Minnesota coach Don Lucia picked to run new CCHA hockey league". ESPN.com. Associated Press. June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  23. ^ "CCHA Introduces New Logo" (Press release). Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  24. ^ "CCHA Grants Membership to Augustana University" (Press release). Central Collegiate Hockey Association. May 17, 2022.
  25. ^ "Michigan Tech Athletics" (PDF).
  26. ^ "Tech-Northern Rivalry Resumes on Ice This Weekend". 19 February 2014.
  27. ^ "Henderson and Odegard Recipients of CCHA Major Awards". Alaska Nanooks. 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  28. ^ "CCHA Awards". College Hockey Historical Archive. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  29. ^ "All-CCHA Teams". College Hockey Historical Archive. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  30. ^ "CCHA All-Rookie Teams". College Hockey Historical Archive. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  31. ^ "CCHA to announce annual awards this week" (Press release). Central Collegiate Hockey Association. March 13, 2022. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  32. ^ a b c "CCHA Announces All-Decade Teams". March 29, 2001.
  33. ^ "CCHA Names All-Decade Team for 2000-2013". January 23, 2013. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013.

External links[edit]