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Eric Peterson, Published September 18 2010

D-I hockey still on the ‘back burner’ at MSUM

While NCAA Division I ice hockey is heating up in Happy Valley, the sport is currently on the “back burner” at Minnesota State Moorhead.

“When it gets on the front burner is determined by a whole host of different factors,” MSUM President Edna Szymanski said. “I sure as heck hope we can bring it to the front burner at some point in the not-to-distant future.”

Penn State announced plans Friday to start a Division I hockey program, a move that has some speculating the formation of a Big Ten hockey league.

“It’s beginning to unfold in a way we thought if might and we are paying attention to what’s going on,” said MSUM athletic director Doug Peters.

“We knew that there was going to be a lot jockeying,” added Szymanski.

“We knew that Big Ten hockey was a possibility. I’m not sure that, that announcement does anything different. … It doesn’t sound to me like it changes anything.”

If Big Ten hockey forms, that would affect the alignment of conferences across the country, including the WCHA. That was a league the Dragons initially targeted when they announced in April 2009, the school was looking at launching a D-I hockey program.

“I would like to get there, but it’s not for awhile,” Szymanski said.

Szymanski said right now she is more focused on balancing the school’s overall budget and working on improving the Division II athletic programs the school currently sponsors.

“I want that strong foundation on the D-II sports,” Szymanski said.

“We have a really good plan of how to bring our current sports up.”

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com