This is the 2016-17 Western Collegiate Hockey Association men's season. This is the league's 65th season.
Uncertain Future of Alaska programsEdit
The two Alaska schools are both facing uncertain futures with the state being in what is described as "a budget crisis". Several proposals have been put forward that could lead to either (or both) of the schools stopping their programs; the schools combining their hockey programs with reduced scholarships at both schools, or the schools themselves coming up with additional funds raised by outside sources to help the schools pay the subsidy that is paid to visiting teams to help with travel expenses, that is a good size portion of the program's budget. In November it was announced that the programs were both spared from elimination when the two schools eliminated other sports from their athletic programs.
- None but, on July 13, 2016 the Minnesota State University, Mankato president Richard Davenport announced the school had filed an application to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in July of 2016 as the school was exploring all options available for the good of the school and the hockey program. The WCHA acknowledged the school's intentions and respected the fact that the school kept the WCHA in the loop on the process. The team is believed to be joining the NCHC for the 2018-19 season along with the Arizona State Sun Devils Men's Ice Hockey program.
- The conference added 5 minute 3-on-3 overtime and a shootout
- The conference will award 3 points for a regulation win, 2 points for an overtime/shootout win, points for an overtime/shootout loss, and no points for a regulation loss (for NCAA purposes overtime and shootout games are considered ties for record keeping purposes)
- The conference decided to change to the NHL style nets, which are only 40 inches deep as opposed to the previous style which was 44 inches deep.
To be added upon completion of the regular season
The top 8 teams qualify for the conference tournament. The quarterfinal round is a best-of-three series held at the rink of the higher seeded team. The semifinal and final rounds are single "sudden death" games held at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The winner of the conference tournament earns the conference's automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament.