MSU Moorhead athletic director contacts WCHAMOORHEAD, Minn. — Minnesota State Moorhead’s athletic director reached out to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association commissioner last week, just before news came out that the hockey league will likely be losing two teams to a new Big Ten Conference.
By: Eric Peterson, Forum Communications Co.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Minnesota State Moorhead’s athletic director reached out to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association commissioner last week, just before news came out that the hockey league will likely be losing two teams to a new Big Ten Conference.
Bruce McLeod, the WCHA commissioner, said he got a written electronic message from MSUM athletic director Doug Peters about a week ago. McLeod said he hasn’t been able to respond back.
“Right now we have a lot of things going on,” McLeod said.
The Big Ten officially announced Monday it plans to sponsor a six-team hockey league set to begin in 2013. That means longtime WCHA members Minnesota and Wisconsin are leaving the WCHA in two years.
Peters wouldn’t confirm he recently reached out to McLeod. MSUM started exploring the possibility of launching a hockey program in early 2009.
Peters said MSUM continues to work on adding a hockey program.
“I’ve been trying to position MSUM to have the opportunity to add hockey as the college hockey landscape changes,” Peters said. “There are going to be some changes in the next few years and are we going to be in position to take advantage of that?”
While the WCHA is set to shrink from 12 to 10 teams in 2013, McLeod said the league currently doesn’t have plans to expand.
“Right now we are planning of moving forward with 10 teams,” McLeod said.
In April 2009, Peters said the school was considering adding hockey. Peters said he first started studying the idea a few months earlier when the WCHA lifted a moratorium on adding teams.
The WCHA later voted to add Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha to make the league 12 teams. Bemidji State and UNO started play in the WCHA this season. Peters said he hasn’t had a conversation with McLeod in the last month.
“I’ve continued to work for and explore and build relationships in regards to MSUM having the opportunity to start hockey,” Peters said. “We just continue to pursue it.”
Peterson is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.