MANKATO, Minn. — After hearing a final presentation from representatives of Mankato State University, WCHA members voted unanimously today to admit Mankato as a full member of the conference, beginning in the 1999-2000 season.
Mankato’s admission has been viewed as likely for several months, especially considering the school participated in the WCHA playoffs last season — and will again in 1998-99 — after the departure of Northern Michigan left the league with nine members. Recently, however, a number of schools, including Nebraska-Omaha, Niagara and Bemidji State, have been mentioned as possible candidates for conference affiliation, causing some WCHA members to wonder how many, if any, of those schools might eventually be admitted.
Nevertheless, the league’s three Minnesota members — Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud State — had all announced publicly that they would support Mankato’s candidacy. Upon admitting Mankato, the league immediately placed a moratorium on acceptance of applications beyond those already in hand.
“We are delighted to welcome Mankato State University into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association family,” said WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod and chairperson Norm Chervany in a joint statement. “Mankato State is a quality academic institution with an outstanding athletic and Division I ice hockey program and an impressive commitment to the student-athlete.”
Said Don Amiot, Mankato State’s director of athletics, “Needless to say, we’re very honored and ecstatic about being admitted into the WCHA. Not only is this a great day for the University, but for the entire community of Mankato and southern Minnesota and all the people that have worked so hard to put our program in this position.”