It started with a tweet.

Unlike most news stories these days, this one has nothing to do with politics. I’d finished dinner Tuesday night, sat down in my dining room-turned-home office, and tweeted my intentions for the weekend. There was no expectation of anything more than just hammering out a couple tweets about my plan I’d dubbed “Chasing MacNaughton,” putting my thoughts into the ether, and going about the work I had ahead of me that evening for my business, Rockcastle Media Networks.

Pretty soon my phone was buzzing virtually non-stop. Questions from fellow fans, well-wishes from my friends across Kansas City (where I live now) and beyond, and even an extraordinarily generous offer from Harrison Watt, play-by-play voice for Ferris State. This had taken off, even before I had left the house.

The premise is simple – get to at least one game in every arena in the WCHA this season. Some I hope I’ll be fortunate enough to visit multiple times. To quote a former boss of mine, “it’s simple, but it’s not easy.”

I made the decision to go on these trips last season, shortly after I returned from my first ever journey to watch Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie. It was also my first up-close look at the ‘new’ WCHA, a league with powerful history that was (like most others in college hockey) still adjusting to one of the most volatile conference realignments ever seen. I’d signed up for the streaming package, but found the passion, spirit, and soul of the league was something I’d have to experience in each arena under its umbrella.

When the composite schedule for this season came out in the summer, I immediately looked at which teams would be home and when, grouping them in pairs with the idea of watching a Friday game in one arena and a Saturday match further down the road. This weekend’s travels were the first that fit the schedule, so I’m about to take off. Initially I’d expected this to be a good way to catch some hockey while also visiting some potential clients, and while it is still both of those things, Chasing MacNaughton has also become every bit as much about the experience and environment that each fan base brings to its home ice.

This weekend I’ll cross off the first two – Minnesota State and Bemidji State. The Mavericks have a storied history, winning the MacNaughton Cup as recently as two seasons ago and appearing in three NCAA tournaments this decade. I specifically remember that 2014 tournament because Minnesota State’s first-round exit trashed my bracket. Bemidji State is no slouch either, considering their nine NAIA titles in the past and their win of the MacNaughton Cup last season.

Ultimately, I’m looking forward to experiencing the WCHA at its finest. This is a conference full of passionate fans, balanced competition, and a respect and love for the game that is unparalleled anywhere else in college hockey. I’m excited about this trip, humbled by all the support I’ve already received, and – perhaps most importantly – immensely proud of the WCHA and its member schools.

Cover photo credit Michigan Tech.


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