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Jack Hittinger / Forum News Service, Published June 08 2013

Presidents of universities in WCHA to meet, discuss details of new-look league

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State is about to show the rest of the new-look Western Collegiate Hockey Association what it has to offer.

Presidents from schools in the revamped league will meet in Bemidji today and Monday for a league-wide summit to discuss media packages, finances, budgets and various other items described by WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod as things that the presidents need to “vote on and stamp out.”

It will be the first time presidents from all 10 schools in the realigned league will meet in a formal capacity, according to McLeod.

“A few of the presidents met together at our regular league meetings in Florida where we usually meet, but this is the first time we’ve had all the presidents together,” McLeod said. “We have some official business, but certainly part of it is getting together and getting to know one another, try and get a feel for one another.”

The 2013-14 season will be the first for the newly constituted men’s league, which features Bemidji State, Minnesota State-Mankato, Michigan Tech, Alaska-Anchorage, Ferris State, Alaska-Fairbanks, Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan, Bowling Green State and Alabama-Huntsville.

The women’s league remains the same (Bemidji State, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State-Mankato, North Dakota, Ohio State, St. Cloud State and Wisconsin).

Since the schools come from different leagues many of the presidents of the universities have never met before.

This summit – which will also include athletic directors, a coaching representative and a faculty representative – will give the league’s presidents a chance to get to know one another in both a formal and informal capacity, according to McLeod.

The No. 1 item on the agenda for the presidents to discuss is what McLeod referred to as a “formal presentation” to the league presidents regarding a “media package” that includes television deals for WCHA regular-season and tournament games as well as internet streaming rights.

“A lot of it is kind of a new area for us,” McLeod said. “It takes a lot to get it in place at this point. Everybody’s been doing it on their own, so it’s complicated because there are contracts in place and it’s taken us a long time to get here.

“There’s some substantial costs involved to get the kind of quality we want and some of the bells and whistles we need to get the package forward.”

Aside from the media package, McLeod also expects standing committees to meet to revise the league’s bylaws and also provide updates regarding the league’s tournaments.

“Hopefully what comes out at the end of the day is that we’re all kind of new to this makeup and we’ll get a good feel of who we want to be and where we want to go,” McLeod said.

“Not just practically, but philosophically.”

Bemidji State president Richard Hanson could not be reached for comment, but Bemidji State officials noted in an email that the presidents will tour BSU’s hockey facilities and the city.


Hittinger writes for the Bemidji Pioneer