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Notre Dame to Join Big Ten For Men's Hockey in 2017. What Now?

03/24/2016 at 9:21am EDT

Notre Dame announced on Wednesday that they have agreed to join the Big Ten conference for Mens Hockey in the 2017-18 season.

The FIghting Irish currently reside in Hockey East for men's hockey (where they joined after the dissolution of the CCHA), and as Chris Peters notes in the linked article on CBS Sports, travel has been an issue considering the Irish have to travel to New England for every conference road game. Joining their midwestern neighbors in the Big Ten probably makes a lot more sense for them in that regard, and it gives the struggling conference another good team. Peters also astutely notes that the presence of the Big Ten Network doesn't hurt either, both for exposure and revenue.

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune notes,

Big Ten deputy commissioner Brad Traviolia has stated there is no 8th team from within the conference on the horizon right now, despite years of rumors of Illinois or Nebraska possibly moving up from club status.

However, Chris Peters of CBS Sports is looking outside the box to find a potential 8th team for the Big Ten:

The Big Ten probably isn't done adding affiliates for hockey

While adding Notre Dame is the big get for the Big Ten hockey conference, there is more they'll have to do. A seven-team conference isn't a ton better than a six-team conference. That's why we might see another addition prior to the 2017-18 season when Notre Dame's affiliation begins.

The most likely candidate at this point appears to be the brand new program at Arizona State University. The Sun Devils just completed their first year as a Division I independent and are reportedly weighing two options for their conference affiliation."

Peters also spitballs that the Big Ten could look to lure a program like North Dakota from the also-new NCHC. Minnesota and Wisconsin both have longtime rivalries with North Dakota, and the program has a long, rich history and boasts one of the bets home rinks in college hockey.

At any rate Notre Dame's move (along with Arizona State's recent move to D1) states that realignment is not yet done on the NCAA DIv 1 landscape, and that the Big Ten is not afraid to continue shaking things up.

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