Western Collegiate Hockey Association

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The University of North Dakota playing hockey against the University of Denver

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is a group of colleges and universities in the Midwestern United States that play NCAA Division I women's ice hockey against one another every season. The champion is automatically invited to the NCAA Division I women's hockey tournament. When the WCHA ran a men's league, the men's champion was also automatically invited to the Division I men's tournament.

Founded in 1951 as a men's hockey league, the WCHA added a women's division in the 1999–2000 season. The league would expand far beyond its traditional Midwestern base, adding teams in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, and Indiana at different times. The WCHA shut down its men's division after the 2020–21 season when seven of its 10 members left to start a new Central Collegiate Hockey Association.[1]

Today, eight schools are members of the now women-only WCHA.

Current members[change | change source]

Institution Location Founded Joined Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Main conference
Bemidji State University Bemidji, Minnesota 1919 1999 (women) Public 5,198 Beavers Northern Sun (D-II)
University of Minnesota Minneapolis & Saint Paul, Minnesota 1851 1999 (women) 51,848 Golden Gophers Big Ten
University of Minnesota Duluth Duluth, Minnesota 1947 1999 (women) 11,168 Bulldogs Northern Sun (D-II)
Minnesota State University, Mankato Mankato, Minnesota 1867 1999 14,712 Mavericks Northern Sun (D-II)
Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio 1870 1999 59,837 Buckeyes Big Ten
St. Cloud State University St. Cloud, Minnesota 1869 1999 (women) 14,615 Huskies Northern Sun (D-II)
University of St. Thomas Saint Paul, Minnesota 1885 2021 Private 9,878 Tommies Summit League
University of Wisconsin–Madison Madison, Wisconsin 1848 1999 (women) Public 43,820 Badgers Big Ten

Former members[change | change source]

Final men's members[change | change source]

Ten schools were members of the WCHA men's league in its final season.

Institution Location Founded Joined Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Main conference Current hockey
conference
University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, Alabama 1950 2013 Public 9,736 Chargers Gulf South (D-II) N/A (program suspended)
University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, Alaska 1977 1993 15,819 Seawolves Great Northwest (D-II) N/A (program suspended; to restart in 2022–23)
University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, Alaska 1917 2013 7,744 Nanooks Great Northwest (D-II) Independent
Bemidji State University Bemidji, Minnesota 1919 2010 (men) 5,198 Beavers Northern Sun (D-II) CCHA
Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, Ohio 1910 2013 17,357 Falcons MAC CCHA
Ferris State University Big Rapids, Michigan 1884 2013 13,798 Bulldogs GLIAC (D-II) CCHA
Lake Superior State University Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan 1946 2013 1,963 Lakers GLIAC (D-II) CCHA
Michigan Technological University Houghton, Michigan 1885 1951–1981
1984
7,319 Huskies GLIAC (D-II) CCHA
Minnesota State University, Mankato Mankato, Minnesota 1867 1999 14,712 Mavericks Northern Sun (D-II) CCHA
Northern Michigan University Marquette, Michigan 1899 1984–1997
2013
7,612 Wildcats GLIAC (D-II) CCHA

Other former men's members[change | change source]

Institution Location Joined Left Nickname Next hockey
conference
Current hockey
conference
Colorado College Colorado Springs, Colorado 1951 2013 Tigers NCHC
University of Denver Denver, Colorado 1951 2013 Pioneers NCHC
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan 1951 1981 Wolverines CCHA Big Ten
Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan 1951 1981 Spartans CCHA Big Ten
University of Minnesota Minneapolis & Saint Paul, Minnesota 1951 2013 Golden Gophers Big Ten
University of Minnesota Duluth Duluth, Minnesota 1966 2013 Bulldogs NCHC
University of Nebraska Omaha[a] Omaha, Nebraska 2010 2013 Mavericks NCHC
University of North Dakota Grand Forks, North Dakota 1951 2013 Fighting Sioux[b] NCHC
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, Indiana 1971 1981 Fighting Irish CCHA Big Ten
St. Cloud State University St. Cloud, Minnesota 1990 2013 Huskies NCHC
University of Wisconsin–Madison Madison, Wisconsin 1969 2013 Badgers Big Ten
  1. Now known for sports purposes as Omaha.
  2. Now nicknamed Fighting Hawks.

Former women's member[change | change source]

Institution Location Joined Left Nickname Next hockey
conference
Current hockey
conference
University of North Dakota Grand Forks, North Dakota 2004 2017 Fighting Hawks Dropped women's ice hockey

References[change | change source]

  1. Christensen, Joe (July 2, 2021). "WCHA's men's hockey era officially ends after 70 years". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved July 3, 2021.