OXFORD, Ohio – Although the Miami University hockey team is still competing for an NCAA championship this season, the RedHawks revealed their schedule for next season Wednesday, as the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) unveiled its inaugural league slate.

Miami will turn over a new page in its program’s history beginning in 2013-14 as the RedHawks will compete in the newly formed NCHC, or ‘The National’. Miami is scheduled to play in the very first game in league history as the ‘Hawks host North Dakota on Friday, Oct. 18 and then again the following night. Friday’s game will air nationally on CBS Sports Network and will be part of a NCHC doubleheader that also includes Minnesota Duluth at Colorado College. For the past 32 years, Miami has competed in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), which is disbanding following the 2012-13 season. The NCHC schedule consists of 24 league games per team.

Miami is a founding member of ‘The National,’ which was first announced on July 13, 2011 and also includes fellow founding members Colorado College, the University of Denver, the University of Minnesota Duluth, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of North Dakota. St. Cloud State University and Western Michigan University then joined the conference in September of 2011, creating an eight-team league. Miami and Western Michigan are both current members of the CCHA while the remaining six teams are members of the WCHA. Of the eight NCHC members, four will take the ice this weekend in the NCAA Tournament as Miami and St. Cloud State are in the Midwest Regional while Denver is in the Northeast Regional and North Dakota is in the West Regional.

In addition to North Dakota visiting Oxford for the first time, other NCHC teams that will play in Steve Cady Arena in 2013-14 include Denver (Dec. 6-7), Nebraska Omaha (Jan. 17-18), Western Michigan (Feb. 7-8), St. Cloud State (Feb. 21-22) and Minnesota Duluth (Feb. 28-Mar. 1). In all, Miami will host 17 regular-season games next season, including five non-conference contests in addition to 12 NCHC games.

"We are very excited to begin play in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, as this begins a new chapter in Miami Hockey,” said Miami head coach Enrico Blasi. “The CCHA produced many great memories and rivalries for us and I am confident the NCHC will do the same. We look forward to creating those rivalries and welcoming new teams to our building that our fans have not typically seen in the past. This league provides a very challenging schedule for us every weekend that will prepare our student-athletes for postseason play and give them new experiences."

After beginning the season with an exhibition contest Saturday, Oct. 5 against Windsor, the RedHawks officially get the season under way with a home-and-home series against in-state rival and current CCHA foe Ohio State, which is moving to the Big Ten Hockey Conference for 2013-14. Miami travels to Columbus Friday, Oct. 11 while the Buckeyes make the return trip to Oxford the next night. The RedHawks went 3-1-1 against OSU this season.

Miami’s other non-conference home series include Canisius (Nov. 1-2), which made the NCAA Tournament this year by winning the Atlantic Hockey Tournament, and Wisconsin (Nov. 15-16), which leaves the WCHA for the Big Ten Hockey Conference next year. Miami is 4-0-0 all-time against Canisius, last playing in 2007-08. The Badgers are also in the NCAA Tournament this season after capturing the WCHA Tournament title. UW is making the return trip to Oxford after Miami split at Wisconsin earlier this year. The win was its first in four tries against the Badgers. The series Nov. 15-16 will mark Wisconsin’s first ever trip to Oxford.

The RedHawks will make non-conference road trips to Providence College of Hockey East Oct. 25-26 and to Bemidji State of the WCHA Nov. 29-30. Both trips are return games as Miami beat and tied the Friars in Oxford this season while the ‘Hawks split with the Beavers at home to open the 2011-12 campaign.

Miami’s first NCHC road series will be at St. Cloud State Nov. 8-9. The RedHawks, who could see SCSU in Sunday’s NCAA regional title game, last faced the Huskies in 2010-11, winning and tying at St. Cloud State. SCSU last visited Oxford to open the 2009-10 campaign – a Miami sweep – and will do so again Feb. 21-22, 2014. The RedHawks’ other NCHC road trips include at Nebraska Omaha Nov. 22-23, at Western Michigan Jan. 10-11, at Colorado College Jan. 24-25, at North Dakota Feb. 14-15 and at Denver to close the regular season March 7-8.

Miami and Nebraska Omaha are reunited in the same league after the Mavericks played in the CCHA from 1999 to 2010 before joining the WCHA. The teams last met in Omaha in 2008-09 while UNO came to Oxford in its final year of the CCHA (2009-10). The Broncos of WMU and RedHawks have squared off 119 times in program history as long-time CCHA rivals. Miami’s visit to Colorado Springs Jan. 24-25 will be its first ever at Colorado College while the Tigers are the lone NCHC team that does not visit Oxford in 2013-14. The RedHawks’ only previous visit to North Dakota was a tie in 2009-10. Miami won at Denver last year in the Denver Cup Classic while the Pioneers visit to Oxford Dec. 6-7 will be Denver’s first since playing in the very first game at Steve Cady Arena on Oct. 6, 2006, which the ‘Hawks won.

Following the regular season, all eight NCHC teams will participate in the inaugural NCHC Tournament with the top four seeds hosting a best-of-three quarterfinal series March 14-16. The four winners then move on to Minneapolis, Minn. for the semifinals and championship, which will be held March 21-22, 2014 at the Target Center. Both the title game and third-place game will take place on March 22 with the champion receiving an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Tickets can be purchased for the inaugural NCHC Championship here.

In addition to beginning play in a new conference, Miami will also be hosting the 2014 NCAA Midwest Regional in Cincinnati in conjunction with U.S. Bank Arena. Should the RedHawks make the NCAA Tournament, they would automatically be placed in the Midwest Regional March 28-29, as NCAA rules mandate host schools play in their own regional. The 2014 Frozen Four will be held in Philadelphia, Pa. at the Wells Fargo Center April 10 and 12.

Miami Hockey season tickets sell out every year. If you are interested in being on the hockey season ticket wait list, please call the Miami Athletic Ticket Office at 513-529-4295 for more information. 

This year’s No. 5/5 and second-seeded Miami RedHawks begin NCAA Tournament play Saturday against No. 8/11 and third-seeded Minnesota State in the Midwest Regional at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. Puck drop is set for 5 p.m. while tickets can be purchased here.

--MURedHawks.com--