Bemidji AD Expresses Commitment to WCHA
CHN Staff Report
Bemidji State, one of five WCHA schools that will remain in 2013-14, the year that seven others split into new conferences, released a statement Wednesday that reiterated its commitment to Division I hockey and the WCHA.
“This is certainly a time of transition for the WCHA and for all of college hockey,” BSU athletic director Rick Goeb said. “As a
member of the WCHA, Bemidji State has and will be an active participant in that transition."
Bemidji State was just accepted into the WCHA last season, following the demise of its original D-I conference, College Hockey America. Prior to that, BSU was a power in various other classifications. The acceptance into the WCHA, along with a new arena, helped secure the program's future and marked an all-time high in terms of prestige.
But the impending changes in the WCHA leave Bemidji State once again in a precarious spot, along with fellow holdovers Alaska-Anchorage, St. Cloud State, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State. There is an expectation that Northern Michigan will soon be added, coming back from the CCHA, for 2013-14, leaving a solid conference, though far less prestigious than it's been for most of its 60-year history.
“Future expansion of the WCHA is eminent (sic), and the league expects to be making announcements in that regard shortly," Goeb said. "The schools committed to securing the future of the WCHA beyond the 2013-14 season will be meeting later this week to solidify that future, and to ensure the WCHA’s member teams and any teams that may join us in the future are able to compete at college hockey’s highest level.”
Despite the changes, Goeb said he expects to continue playing teams that will be leaving the WCHA.
“While some of our closest geographic rivals will no longer be a part of our conference schedule, we expect our rivalries with these programs to continue long into the future," Goeb said. "We are very close to solidifying agreements to keep Division I programs, like Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota, as regular non-conference opponents. These agreements ensure there will be very little change to the quality of Bemidji State’s schedules moving forward. As always, we will continue to provide our fans with the greatest experience in college hockey.”
The Beavers, who recently completed their inaugural season in the WCHA with an overall record of 15-18-5 (8-15-5 WCHA), finished 10th in the league and then defeated fellow newcomer Nebraska-Omaha in the playoffs to reach the Final Five. BSU defeated eventual national champ Minnesota-Duluth in the play-in game, before losing in the semis to Denver.