MOORHEAD, Minn. -- Minnesota State-Moorhead officials announced they have set a goal of raising $37 million for an endowment to fund the addition of Division I hockey at the university.

President Edna Szymanski confirmed that 40 percent of the goal has been committed and she is optimistic that the target will be reached.

Once the goal is in sight, Szymanski said she hopes to present the plan to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees. The board must approve the plan in order for the university to proceed.

“I have always thought this opportunity is clearly worthy of exploration,” Szymanski said. “We came to the endowment model as a way we believe we could make it work. The most important point in our decision was that there would be no risk to taxpayer or tuition dollars.”

The endowment also would ensure that the hockey was sustainable for the long run and would make the team more attractive to college hockey leagues, Szymanski said.

Jan Mahoney, the university's vice president of finance and administration, said two feasibility studies show that Division I hockey would create $12-14 million dollars in economic impact to the Fargo-Moorhead community.

Athletic Director Doug Peters indicated that concurrently with raising funds for the endowment model, MSUM will continue developing relationships with various conferences and their members to position the Dragons for conference affiliation.

The WCHA, CCHA and the NCHC released statements saying the future membership additions of each league has not been determined.