One of the major topics of discussion at Big Ten Conference meetings Tuesday and Wednesday in suburban Chicago has to do with the creation of a new affiliation for men's hockey.
League and school administrators are sitting down with coaches in Park Ridge, Ill., to map out a course of action between now and 2013-14 when the new six-team alignment begins play.
One of the most prominent questions has to do with how Big Ten schools will accommodate teams from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and Central Collegiate Hockey Association when it comes to scheduling.
The University of Wisconsin and Minnesota are leaving the WCHA, while Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are breaking away from the CCHA to join the start-up program from Penn State in the Big Ten.
Scheduling proposals have been submitted by the Big Ten to the leagues in question. The Big Ten plans to play a 20-game schedule -- four games against one another -- then hopes to augment the remaining 16 openings with eight to 10 predetermined matches against opponents from the WCHA and/or CCHA.
Another major logistical question has to do with a Big Ten playoff format and where a league tournament would be staged.
The UW contingent includes athletic director Barry Alvarez, deputy AD Sean Frazier, coach Mike Eaves and athletic board chair Walter Dickey.