WCHA invites fellow leftover CCHA schools to join

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Conference realignment is hitting college hockey.

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association said Thursday it has invited five new teams to join in two years -- once changes settle in for the Big Ten and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

Current CCHA members Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State are joining WCHA programs Minnesota and Wisconsin and Penn State in the Big Ten in 2013-14.

The new National Collegiate Hockey Conference will also begin that year with Miami (Ohio) of the CCHA and five WCHA members: North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, Colorado College, Denver and Minnesota-Duluth.

That will leave the WCHA with Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State (Mankato), Northern Michigan and St. Cloud State. It has invited the rest of the CCHA teams -- Alaska Fairbanks, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State and Western Michigan -- to join.

WCHA and CCHA leaders met in Chicago this week. Presidents of the six remaining WCHA member universities gave the CCHA schools 30 days to decide.