Bemidji State to pursue membership in Western Collegiate Hockey Association

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Bemidji State University announced today its intention to formally pursue membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association on behalf of its NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey program. The University’s announcement follows today’s unanimous vote of the WCHA member institutions to lift the league’s moratorium on expansion, which had been in place since 1999.

“We are thrilled by the WCHA’s decision to lift its moratorium on expansion,” Bemidji State Director of Athletics Dr. Rick Goeb said. “Bemidji State has expressed its desire to seek membership in the premier collegiate ice hockey conference in the country, and we now intend to vigorously pursue membership in the WCHA using all the resources we can gather.

“This vote gives Bemidji State an opportunity to share the story of its men’s hockey program with the members institutions of the WCHA,” Goeb said. “We realize we will need the support of eight of the WCHA’s 10 members for our application to succeed, and we intend to work tirelessly over the next several months to show the WCHA what Bemidji State University brings to the table.

“After seeing what we have to offer, we believe the WCHA will be excited about adding Bemidji State University as its newest member,” Goeb said.

“The WCHA’s vote to lift its moratorium on expansion opens the door for us to continue pursuing what has been the ultimate goal of the University and its men’s hockey program for over a decade – membership in the WCHA,” Bemidji State President Dr. Jon E. Quistgaard said.

“A Western Collegiate Hockey Association that includes Bemidji State University would be a tremendous benefit not only to Bemidji State, but also to the WCHA,” Quistgaard added. “Bemidji State would provide the WCHA with a program woven into the fabric of college hockey history; a program with superb financial support from its alumni and friends; and a unique partnership with the city of Bemidji to provide what promises to be one of the nation’s finest college hockey venues.”

Bemidji State’s men’s ice hockey program is a member of the four-team College Hockey America conference, where it has made its home since the league was founded in 1999-2000. However, the long-term viability of CHA has been in question over the last few years as the size of the league has diminished. The league dropped to four members for the 2008-09 season, leaving Bemidji State to explore its options for future conference affiliations.

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.

About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association is a 10-team NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey conference which includes the University of North Dakota; University of Minnesota; Minnesota State University, Mankato; the University of Minnesota, Duluth; St. Cloud (Minn.) State University; Michigan Technological University; the University of Wisconsin; Colorado College; the University of Denver; and the University of Alaska Anchorage. The WCHA is headquartered in Denver, Colo.

About College Hockey America
College Hockey America is a four-team NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey conference which includes the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Bemidji (Minn.) State University; Robert Morris University; and Niagara University. Ala.-Huntsville, Bemidji State and Niagara were inaugural members of the league and have been members since 1999-2000; Robert Morris joined in 2004-05. CHA is headquartered in Bemidji, Minn.