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BSU to make presentation to WCHA on Monday

Taking part in the official groundbreaking ceremonies for the Bemidji Regional Event Center on April 3 were, from left, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Steve Sviggum; Steve Sertich, the head coach for the Bemidji State University women's hockey team; R.H. "Bob" Peters, former BSU men's coach; and Tom Serratore, current BSU head men's coach. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Bemidji State University will get a seat at the table Monday as university and hockey officials make their official presentation to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

BSU spokesmen will present for one hour to WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod and the men's hockey representatives at a meeting in Marco Island, Fla.

The Beavers now compete in College Hockey America but are seeking a new conference home for the men's hockey program. The CHA will fold after the 2009-10 season because of a lack of teams.

The CHA now is composed of Bemidji, Niagara University, Robert Morris University and Alabama-Hunstville - but both Niagara and Robert Morris are set to join the Atlantic College Conference in 2010-11.

The ideal conference for Bemidji is the WCHA, a 10-team conference with elite teams such as Minnesota, Wisconsin and Minnesota-Duluth.

But the Beavers had faced a tall hurdle: The WCHA had in place a moratorium on expansion.

The WCHA was well aware of Bemidji's hopes of joining the conference. And, in January, WCHA members voted unanimously to lift that moratorium, opening the door for applicants.

Bemidji State was the only applicant, and on Monday, team and university representatives will make their case for admittance.

The Beavers are bringing a strong contingent of representatives to Florida. Included are BSU President Jon Quistgaard; Bill Maki, vice president for finance and administration; Rob Bollinger, executive director of the BSU Foundation; former BSU coach R.H. "Bob" Peters; Doug Leif, a business professor at BSU and the faculuty athletic representative; BSU head coach Tom Serratore; Athletic Director Rick Goeb; and Steve Parker, the senior project manger for Leo A Daly, Bemidji Regional Event Center designer.

"We have pretty good representation," Goeb said.

While Goeb would not detail plans for the presentation, the list of those who comprise the presentation team suggests that everything from the history of the college and the men's hockey team, future plans for the Bemidji Regional Event Center and the university's commitment to the hockey program will be discussed.

"Obviously, you can see from the people we have going down there, we're going to have a lot of different pieces covered," Goeb said.

One of the tools available will be a virtual tour of the BREC from Leo A Daly. The tour features a collage of images of the facility and how will look from the outside and inside.

Goeb noted that the CHA conference will still be intact for the upcoming season, but that Bemidji State is hoping to solidify plans for the 2010-11 season, ideally competing in the WCHA.

He did not know when Bemidji would receive a response from the WCHA.

"It's hard to say," he said.

Bemidji State's women's hockey program already is a member of the WCHA. The presentation this week will be made to the men's representatives of the WCHA.