Bowling Green has officially accepted the WCHA's invitation to join their conference starting in 2013-2014. Bowling Green had hesitated a bit reportedly due to the possibility of creating a conference with four Atlantic Hockey schools and possibly a new start-up program like Buffalo.But ultimately, it appears there were too many hurdles and logistics to work out before the WCHA's offer expired. It remains to be seen if the WCHA is the best move for Bowling Green, but it was certainly the safest.
With Bowling Green's decision, and Hockey East announcing a press conference in South Bend on Wednesday, everyone in the west that was in a conference now has a conference to call home when realignment happens in two years.
Does this end realignment? Maybe, and maybe not. The WCHA is now at 9 teams. An odd number of teams is undesirable for leagues, though that's mostly for the undesirability of teams having bye weeks late in the season during intense playoff races, something I doubt many people will care about in the new WCHA. But just because Bowling Green was unable to hammer out a deal with those Atlantic Hockey independently, there still might be the slim possibility of the WCHA absorbing those schools, which remains the best chance for the WCHA also taking in Alabama-Huntsville.
For now though, this is what the college hockey landscape will look like. If someone had said this is what college hockey would look like after Penn State announced their program, I think most people would have laughed. Now that it's a reality, well, it still looks pretty funny.