History of College Hockey America
|College Hockey America was formed in 1999 with Air Force, Army, Alabama-Huntsville, Bemidji State, Findlay and Niagara as charter members, all of which started play in 1999, and Wayne State (also a charter member) which began conference play in 2000. The creation of this sixth conference eliminated independents from the Division 1 landscape and appeared to bring stability to these programs, but this was not the case. Membership problems plagued the conference throughout its existence.|
Army departed for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in the fall of 2000, leaving the conference with six members. The 2002-03 season was the first in which the conference played for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, eventually awarded to tournament champion Wayne State. After the following season, Findlay discontinued hockey, necessitating the addition of Robert Morris in 2004 to keep the conference at six teams and maintain the automatic NCAA bid.
That reprieve was short-lived, as Air Force announced their move to Atlantic Hockey effective the 2006-07 season, putting the automatic bid, and the conference's existence, in jeopardy once again. The situation was exacerbated when Wayne State stopped playing varsity hockey in 2008, leaving the conference with only four teams. Attempts to find new programs failed and in 2009 Atlantic Hockey announced the acceptance of Robert Morris and Niagara as new members for the 2010-11 season. The WCHA later accepted Bemidji State. The 2009-10 season was the last for the CHA and the long-term future for Alabama-Huntsville, forced to continue as an independent, became unclear, though they later found a home in the WCHA in 2013.