NMU hockey: WCHA 2013-14 nonconference scheduling by the numbers

MARQUETTE – The Northern Michigan University hockey team is not alone this year in playing the majority of its nonconference games on the road. In 2013-14, WCHA teams play a combined 26 nonconference games at home, 42 on the road and 13 on what is considered to be neutral ice.

Seven WCHA teams, including NMU, play only two nonconference games at home while Bowling Green snagged three, Alaska four and Bemidji State five.

The Nanooks are the only WCHA team to not travel in nonconference play, but they did play two neutral ice games in a tournament in Anchorage.

Alabama-Huntsville hits the road the most at seven times while the Wildcats, Michigan Tech and Lake Superior State are away six times. Ferris State has five nonconference road games.

In an interview this fall, WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said he pushed for the league to mandate teams play a certain percentage of nonconference games at home in order to deter teams from taking payouts for one-way trips like NMU is doing at North Dakota this weekend. The league’s university presidents and athletic directors decided it was not necessary, however.

McLeod pushed for the mandate not for financial reasons, but for competitive reasons, and the league’s nonconference record is backing his stance so far as to the importance of playing at home.

The WCHA as a whole is 21-29-9 in nonconference play with a 14-7-4 record at home, 2-3-0 mark on neutral ice and 5-19-5 record on the road. The league is 3-10-1 overall against the Big Ten, having gone 3-2-0 in its only home games against Big Ten teams. The WCHA is 0-7-0 against Hockey East with all seven games being played in Hockey East arenas.

NMU is 2-3-1 in nonconference play going into this weekend’s series against Omaha, having won at home against Nebraska-Omaha and on the road at Western Michigan. Both teams, like UND, play in the new NCHC.

BSU, the team with the most home nonconference games in the WCHA, is 0-4-2 in non-league play with a home and road game to play against UND this season.