Bemidji State will continue seeking viable conference options while continuing fundraising efforts for its men’s hockey program in the wake of the WCHA’s decision last week to maintain a moratorium on expansion of its men’s league. Bemidji State had been pursuing membership in the WCHA on behalf of its NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey program.
“We intend to continue having conversations with WCHA member institutions in the hope that reconsideration of the moratorium may become possible at a later date,” said Bemidji State director of athletics Dr. Rick Goeb.
Bemidji State men’s hockey will continue to make its home in the CHA for the 2007-08 season where it has been a member of the five-team conference since the its founding in the 1999-2000 season.
The long-term viability of CHA has been in question since the league dropped from six members to five following the departure of Air Force for Atlantic Hockey after the 2005-06 season, leading Bemidji State to explore its options for future conference affiliations.
“As we move forward, we will continue to assess all of our conference affiliation options and will give full consideration to financially-viable alternatives,” Bemidji State president Dr. Jon E. Quistgaard said.
Quistgaard reiterated the need to raise $2.5 million in pledges by May 2008 in support of men’s ice hockey at Bemidji State. The fundraising would create an operational fund that could be drawn against by the men’s hockey program over a five-year period at a rate of $500,000 per year.
“Given this announcement by the WCHA, it becomes even more critical for our fundraising goals to be achieved in order to bridge the time period between now and our acceptance into a new conference,” Quistgaard said.
The Bemidji State women’s ice hockey program is a member of the WCHA, and has been a member since its inception for the 1999-2000 season.