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MSU Moorhead hockey getting closer to reality

MOORHEAD, Minn. -- While he knows there is still work to do, Doug Peters can let himself imagine Dragons ice hockey.

"I can close my eyes and I can see us dropping the puck," the Minnesota State Moorhead athletic director said Tuesday. "I can see the red sweaters flying around the ice and hearing the horns and all of that. It's there. It's close. It's so close, but we still have some work to do."

The next five weeks are important if that vision is to become reality.

Peters said the end of February is the next benchmark for MSUM as it tries to launch Division I men's and women's ice hockey teams.

"The goal is still to drop the puck in 2103-2014," Peters said.

MSUM wants to have $30 million in hockey-only commitments secured by the beginning of March.

That would get the school near its overall goal of $37 million, which is needed to support MSUM's endowment model business plan.

"I feel that if we can get to 30 (million) that we have a great opportunity to finish this," Peters said. "It gets us close enough and it builds enough momentum that we can see the finish line and I can see us crossing it."

MSUM announced at a July news conference that the school had $15 million in hockey commitments.

Peters told The Forum in December the school had gone past that figure, but wouldn't specify an exact figure. Again Tuesday, Peters wouldn't specify an amount, but confirmed the school had raised more than the $15 million it had in place last summer.

"We've got more commitments," Peters said. "We feel really confident about some things we have in our pipeline."

In September Peters told The Forum the goal was to have around $30 million in place by January. While that goal has been pushed back, Peters isn't losing faith.

"There are so many things aligning. The time is right," Peters said. "We've sat down with so many people that are so positive and that are supportive. I'm optimistic that it's going to happen, but know we need to put forth the effort to make sure that it does."

Peterson is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.