Bemidji State’s Bid To Join Major Hockey Conference Put On Hold
For those of you who didn’t follow the story the first time around and those poor souls who did but suffer from memory loss, the Bemidji State Beavers were the darlings of this year’s NCAA Hockey Tournament. As the 16 seed in a 16-team tournament given little or no chance to make it anywhere, Bemidji State made it to the Semifinals before the dream abruptly ended after a 4-1 loss to Miami (OH). It was impressive run that captured the imagination of not only hockey fans, but all sports fans alike.
Although the dream of a national title ended for the Beavers on that April 9th night, the Beavers have moved on to a new dream: joining a top-notch college hockey conference.
Bemidji State now plays in the College Hockey America conference, which also features the powerhouse hockey schools University of Alabama-Huntsville, Niagra University and Robert Morris University. Granted, it is a Division One Hockey Conference, but have you ever heard of these schools? Neither had I.
Bemidji State would like to join the WCHA, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, a conference which boasts in-state schools University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State University, University of Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota State-Mankato, as well as Wisconsin, Denver, North Dakota, Colorado College, Alaska Anchorage and Michigan Tech.
Bemidji State applied to join the conference but unfortunately, it is currently a 10-team conference and the WCHA is unwilling to go to an odd-numbered amount of teams, so they have put Bemidji State’s application on hold, in hopes that another team submits an application to join the WCHA (Nebraska-Omaha and Northern Michigan are rumored to be among the candidates.
[WCHA Commissioner Bruce] McLeod said 12 teams make much more financial sense. “We can have six first-round games” in the WCHA playoffs, he said, and six teams in the Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center. (That event probably would be re-named quickly.)
Let’s hope that another team steps forward so Bemidji State can realize their goal and become a member of a full-fledged, first-class, national college hockey conference. They have certainly earned it.
Bemidji State’s bid to join WCHA on hold [Star Tribune]
[College Hockey America Official Site]
[Official Site of the WCHA]