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WCHA: New commish Kemp wants to help league members get into NCAAs

Aaron Kemp hasn’t even officially started as commissioner of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association women’s league, but he already knows one of the conference’s big issues.

Upon being introduced as the league’s next boss Wednesday afternoon, Kemp said that he’s already had conversations with league members about how to get more WCHA teams in the national tournament.

“That’s one of the points we discussed,” said Kemp, who wants to tweak RPI and Pairwise formulas to more accurately reflect the strength of the WCHA. “We’re maybe looking at how we do it in house, reducing the number of league games to get more games outside of the league.”

Either way, the WCHA’s new commissioner will be jumping right into the job, trying to tackle that issue — and others — next week at the national meetings in Florida.

The WCHA has long been the nation’s most powerful league, winning every national championship except one in women’s hockey history. But the league has beaten up on each other in recent years and hasn’t received as many entries to the national tournament as other leagues.

WCHA coaches have tried to alter the formula used to pick the national field in recent years to no avail. Now, Kemp will join their fight.

Kemp has a strong background with both women’s hockey and sport administration. A former Canisius College player, Kemp served as an assistant coach for Mercyhurst’s women’s team before taking a job as the school’s associate athletic director.

“I want to improve our league but also women’s hockey in general,” Kemp said.

Kemp replaces Sara Martin, who is retiring. Kemp said he will relocate to the Twin Cities and work from there. The WCHA also just hired a new men’s commissioner, Bill Robertson, who is also located in the Twin Cities. Robertson replaces Bruce McLeod.

“I want a good working relationship between the men’s and women’s conference,” Kemp said. “We’re going to work together to move the leagues forward in a positive direction.”

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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