There had been whispers that Notre Dame was unhappy in Hockey East, and now all signs point to the Irish doing something about it.
Long felt by just about everyone involved to be a misfit in the eastern power conference, multiple sources on Twitter are reporting that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be leaving Hockey East to join the Big Ten.
BREAKING: Notre Dame leaving Hockey East for Big Ten in 2017, sources tell USCHO https://t.co/xD9knYOLFO— USCHO.com (@USCHO) March 22, 2016
This is gigantic news for a few reasons. First, because no one in Hockey East wanted Notre Dame here anyway. Second, there's the possibility that maybe Hockey East could tempt Quinnipiac away from the ECAC? Maybe?
This is likely to trigger another reaiignment in college hockey, which is not a bad thing. The Big Ten has been a disaster so far. The "new" WCHA has become a weakling. And while the NCHC has been competitive, it, like all conferences since realignment, has struggled with declining attendance at the conference tournament and a loss of traditional rivalry games. Can the next round of realignment get things right?
With Notre Dame leaving, Hockey East will become a bus league again. If Hockey East could nab Quinnipiac, the women's side of the league would expand to an even ten teams and add one of the better young programs of the least few years. Given that Hockey East won't want to stay at an odd number of teams, I'd assume QU is the #1 target to backfill and get back to 12.
We'll have more on this as we learn more.