As an avid College Hockey fan - we do exist and are very passionate about our sport much like our professional NHL brethren - I have become a bit disturbed about the play of late of the eastern schools.
I am a large enough fan of the sport that I count Minnesota (for Herb Brooks reasons alone) and Michigan et al as my favorites as well as the BC/UNH's (for Joe Fl) of the world.
So, looking at the latest poll information, you can see that there are 8 teams in the top 20 from the East: New Hampshire (5), Northeastern (9), UMass (10), Boston College (11), Clarkson (12), Quinnipiac (14), UMass-Lowell (15) and Princeton (19). Not a bad showing.
Outside of the obvious 8 < 12 argument, I think the edge for the West is that more and more teams are becoming elite while the East manages to find ways to wear each other down. Miami (OH) has always been a good team, but lately (most notably this year) they have really become a force in the West. Denver - a run of back to back titles that came not from nowhere a few years ago, but certainly from somewhere around the back end of top 20 lists. They were a No. 1 seed in the West in 2002 but that was their first appearance in the tourney in 3 years when they lost in the first round to Michigan in 1999.
Normal Western stalwarts like Minnesota and Wisconsin (winners of 3 of the last 6 titles) are currently ranked towards the bottom of the top 20 but I would be hard-pressed to say that come tournament time that I would want to face them. Take Princeton tho - and their similar placement in the rankings and - with all due respect to Princeton - I dont think teams would be as timid. That being said, it would be a big mistake to underestimate the Tigers.
Perception here is the real enemy for the East as they dont have that same swagger that the West can boast. Sure perennial runners-up BC is out there hovering just outside the top 10 along with "this is their year" New Hampshire at number 5. While the teams in the East continue to beat each other up over the season and recruiting, the teams out West seem to be building program after program.
While I am all for parity in the College Hockey ranks - I miss the East vs. West days. While there are TONS of great rivalries in college hockey - most within region, when it comes to post season play - nothing plays stronger than our brand of hockey in this part of the country is better than yours! If you have seen Miracle or follow the sport closely enough, you will know exactly what I am talking about. There is GREAT hatred over the different regions of the country in college hockey. Lately, the West has been able to make that "we are better" claim 10 of the last 12 years. Now that doesnt mean that there havent been good even great teams from the East - quite the contrary. That is why I am here - I clamor for those days again but lately it just seems like every great East team is just a few shades under tops in the West.
So I plead to you schools from the East - rise up and be great once again - stand up for your coast and style of hockey (and yes - I realize the the West does not actually have a "coast"). I dont care who wins in the end - I just want to see some great hockey and that regional antagonistic play like O'C vs. McClanahan would provide from back in the day.