ST. CLOUD - St. Cloud State University's Women's Hockey head coach says they are losing a rival and a friend.

When the University of North Dakota decided to cut it's women's hockey program, SCSU lost what some would consider it's greatest  hockey rival. For SCSU women's head's coach, Eric Rud, he's losing more than a rival, he's also losing a friend.

"One of the things I love about the Hockey world is that we are a little bit of a fraternity. We're obviously competitive when it comes to on ice play, but especially in the women's game we always tried to do what is right for women's hockey."

Beyond losing friendships built through hockey, another challenge will be how does SCSU's conference operate with an odd number of teams. The WCHA had eight teams but after losing UND are now down to seven, meaning there will be a lot of empty weekends on team's schedules.

"For next year it's probably too late to add games, I don't know how we will add games to our schedule for next season. We may just have to have open weekends. We have some conference calls as a league next week and we will try to figure out some of the more logistical things."

SCSU lost the season 2016-2017 series to UND winning one game but losing three.

UND women's hockey team was cut with men's and women's diving and swimming.