The offseason for men's college hockey is less than a month old but already we've seen major, volatile developments.

At the moment, 22 underclassmen have turned pro and there have been eight head coaching changes, leaving current openings at Clarkson, Michigan Tech and Princeton. That's a lot of turnover for a pool of 58 programs.

But those developments take a backseat to what could be decided this week when the annual American Hockey Coaches Association convention is staged Wednesday to Sunday in Naples, Fla. Coaches and administrators from every affiliation will be on hand to ostensibly map out the future of NCAA Division I men's hockey.

For the first time, the six members of the newly proposed Big Ten Conference will get together at the AHCA convention to devise strategy and policy for their debut in 2013-14. That includes the University of Wisconsin, which will send its men's and women's coaching and support staffs as well as three administrators: UW senior associate athletic director Sean Frazier, athletic board chair Walter Dickey and athletic board member Sheila McGuirk. 

Those meetings will take place under the same roof of the five established leagues -- Atlantic Hockey, Central Collegiate Hockey Association, Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference, Hockey East Association and Western Collegiate Hockey Association -- whose futures are tied in various ways to the Big Ten.

Most affected are the CCHA, which is losing Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State, and WCHA, which is losing Minnesota and UW.

There has been a lot of talk recently of mergers and acquisitions, most centering on CCHA resident Notre Dame, which reportedly has had talks with WCHA officials.

Is a WCHA/CCHA super league in the offing? What will become of independent Alabama-Huntsville? Is there another Big Ten program on the drawing board?

Perhaps most important, who will dictate and oversee the changes? Will they be on the same page or will there be rogue entities?

One thing seems certain: the AHCA meetings will be anything but dull. 


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