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Huskies leaves WCHA to join NCHC

SCSU men's hockey coach Bob Motzko speaks during a news conference announcing the Huskies' admission into the National Collegiate Hockey Conference on Thursday in St. Cloud. Western Michigan also accepted an invitation to join the NCHC. They are the seventh and eighth schools to join the league that starts play in 2013-14. Associated Press.

ST. CLOUD (AP) -- St. Cloud State is leaving the Western Collegiate Hockey Association to join the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

SCSU President Earl Potter told reporters the change will take place with the 2013-14 season. Western Michigan also said Thursday it will join the new NCHC.

"We are delighted to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference," Potter said. "We believe that the conference's strength of play and commitment to college hockey and student athletes is strong and deep and we look forward to an exciting future with The National."

The moves are the latest in a reshuffling of Division I hockey programs since Minnesota and Wisconsin announced in March that they're leaving the WCHA to join the Big Ten hockey conference.

"St. Cloud State was given the opportunity 22 years ago to join the WCHA," SCSU men's hockey coach Bob Motzko said. "With our league members, we were able to build a program into national prominence and showcase our University throughout the country. We are forever grateful for this opportunity.

The NCHC was formed in July with North Dakota, Denver University, Colorado College, Miami of Ohio, Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota Duluth as founding members.

Bemidji State and Minnesota State Mankato are still in the WCHA, which is trying to woo the remaining CCHA schools to join.

SCSU will open its 2011-12 season on Oct. 7-8 with a trip to the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage, Alaska. The Huskies home-opener is Oct. 21 with a weekend series against non-conference opponent New Hampshire. Conference play will begin Oct. 28 against North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D.