Writer’s Name
Jake Ford

Working title
Changing on the Fly: The WCHA Receives a Makeover

What will the article cover? What will it be about?
Here is the simplest way to explain the situation in men’s college hockey right now:

Because Penn State added men and women’s hockey programs, college hockey is going to change drastically next year. Adding PSU made it so there are six Big Ten conference teams, which is the minimum need to start a new conference in college hockey. This caused core teams Minnesota and Wisconsin to leave the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA—Bemidji State’s league) and Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State to leave the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and join Penn State in the Big Ten starting in the 2013-14 season. This change caused Notre Dame to bolt for Hockey East (allowing Connecticut to join, as well), while other top-end programs from the WCHA and CCHA joined form a new conference, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). The CCHA will fold after this year and its remaining teams will join the WCHA, along with Alabama-Huntsville.

My article would be about how this change affects different schools and how these effects are positive and negative. There are many perspectives (over 60 of them) from which to look at this, so I will mostly focus on it from Bemidji State’s point of view.

What stance will you take?
I will take the stance of trying to make people more aware, but it may also teach a bit to some readers and because I’m not writing for a website of an one of the teams or conferences (like BSUBeavers.com or WCHA.com), I’ll try to make this a little more amusing than what I’m used to writing.

From other articles on the topic I have seen, there is generally a lot of pessimism and focus on the big schools, but I will try to do the opposite.

Consider audience fit: niche
Going from smaller to more broad, the audiences I will aim to reach are BSU hockey fans, college hockey fans, and fans of hockey in general that are on the fence about following it more. If I present the information effectively, these people will be well informed and will be in the loop if they weren’t sure already. As you can see from the explanation above about what I will cover, it’s not the easiest concept to follow.

Consider how the article will make contact with readers
I will try to make contact with my audience by getting the topic out there early and using words that associate with the topic. I will also name schools and use links because it hits home for a sports fan when their favorite team is mentioned. This will likely generate interest that could lead to a reaction.

Going by Hot Text (Price), simplicity saves attention, so I likely will try to avoid explaining the changes in paragraph form (which is boring and harder to follow) by making some kind of list or by including some kind of visual like a concept map that shows where each team is going.

Where might the article fit on TIO: section and category, either existing or one that will collect others
I would make a new category for sports, ideally, but I think because I’m focusing on BSU here, I think it could fit under University Life.

Research and practices you’ll need to do to write the article.
I’ll probably branch out and look at what some college hockey writers and fans think of the moves to gain more background and what is perceived of this change already. Based off of that, I will be able to comment on whether I think these feelings may be misguided, legitimate, or ones that will go away after a couple of seasons following the change.

What it might link to - literally and figuratively
I’ll likely link to pages that explain terms, people, or situations that the normal person wouldn’t generally know about just by reading it. For example, if I talk about how the change in college hockey broke up the Minnesota-North Dakota rivalry, I might link to a video or story about some of their memorable games that show how big a deal it is that they won’t play against each other anymore. There are a lot of people and teams that are connected with this story.

Article length
This topic has enough nuances to write a book, but I will try to cut it down as much as I can—hopefully fewer than 900-1,000 words. I will work hard to find links I can use to allow me to be more concise.
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