Jan. 15, 2009

By Todd D. Milewski, USCHO Senior Writer
Special to CollegeSports.com from USCHO.com

The WCHA has lifted its moratorium on expansion in a unanimous vote Thursday at league meetings in Washington, D.C.


The move means that schools will be allowed to submit applications to join the now 1'-team league, and it's believed that Bemidji State will be at the head of that line.

The Beavers, already a member of the WCHA women's conference, have sought membership in the men's league to ensure the future viability of the program. Bemidji State would be the main tenant in a proposed 4,'''-seat arena, but getting into the WCHA has been one of the stumbling blocks.

Bemidji State, a member of the four-team CHA, already is in a scheduling agreement with the WCHA that is scheduled to start in the 2'1'-11 season. It provides for games, both home and away, against WCHA teams.

In the past, the WCHA cited the moratorium when deflecting Bemidji State's advances at membership. That moratorium on expansion has existed since Minnesota State became the league's 1'th team in 1999.

"This vote gives Bemidji State an opportunity to share the story of its men's hockey program with the members institutions of the WCHA," BSU director of athletics Dr. Rick Goeb said.

"We realize we will need the support of eight of the WCHA's 1' 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."

CHA correspondent Matt Mackinder contributed to this report.