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Staff report, Published April 28 2009

Bemidji State will learn whether its men's hockey team will be admitted to WCHA this afternoon

BEMIDJI, Minn. - Bemidji State University will learn this afternoon what happens next with its men’s hockey program.

University officials and a representative of the Leo A Daly architectural firm made a presentation to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Monday morning at Marco Island, Fla. BSU is applying to have its men’s hockey team accepted as a member of the WCHA.

A media teleconference is scheduled for 1 p.m. today. WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod will be on the phone with reporters.

“I thought it went very well,” Bemidji State Athletic Director Rick Goeb said immediately after Monday’s meeting. “We made our presentation and answered some questions. None of the questions came as a surprise, and we feel like we had very positive feedback.”

The Bemidji contingent spent a little more than an hour with McLeod and the conference men’s hockey representatives.

The representatives will determine the next step. Eight of the 10 WCHA schools must approve Bemidji State’s application for admission.

The Beavers now compete in College Hockey America but are seeking a new conference home for the men’s hockey program. The CHA will fold after the 2009-10 season because of a lack of teams.

The CHA now is composed of Bemidji State, Niagara University, Robert Morris University and Alabama-Hunstville – but both Niagara and Robert Morris are set to join the Atlantic College Conference in 2010-11.

The ideal conference for Bemidji is the WCHA, a 10-team conference with elite teams such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, the University of North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth.

Bemidji brought a strong contingent of representatives to Florida. Included are BSU President Jon Quistgaard; Bill Maki, vice president for finance and administration; Rob Bollinger, executive director of the BSU Foundation; former BSU coach R.H. “Bob” Peters; Doug Leif, a business professor at BSU and the faculuty athletic representative; BSU head coach Tom Serratore; Goeb; and Steve Parker, the senior project manger for Leo A Daly, Bemidji Regional Event Center designer.

Bemidji State’s women’s hockey program already is a member of the WCHA. The presentation this week will be made to the men’s representatives of the WCHA.

The Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.