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Published February 15, 2012, 10:14 PM

Time running short for MSUM hockey decision

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - The clock has nearly struck midnight in the Dragons quest to bring Division 1 hockey to Moorhead. The administration has said they need to have $30 million raised by the end of the month if they want to move forward.

By: Jody Norstedt, WDAY

The clock has nearly struck midnight in the Dragons quest to bring Division 1 hockey to Moorhead. The administration has said they need to have $30 million raised by the end of the month if they want to move forward.

There are 4 Minnesota Division 2 colleges that have Division 1 hockey. I spoke with two of them, Bemidji State and Minnesota State-Mankato, to get their insight on whether MSU Moorhead would make a good addition as a fifth.

Rick Goeb – Bemidji State Athletic Director: “They have advantages that eclipse even Bemidji and maybe some other small time markets that have hockey and seem to make it go.”

MSU Moorhead Athletic Director Doug Peters has been trying to make these points to potential donors.

But, it's not that easy.

Doug Peters – MSUM Athletic Director: “What we're running into is people feeling whether they can financially support what we're trying to do or not just based on the economic climate.”

It makes raising $37 million in donations a tall order. Kevin Buisman, the Athletic Director at MSU Mankato knew it wouldn't be easy for the Dragons, but said the budget plan is accurate.

Kevin Buisman – MSU-Mankato Athletic Director: “They didn't cut any corners. I don't think they tried to make it any easier on themselves by having the lower-end or taking the more conservative approach to budget estimates.”

Bemidji State and Mankato would love nothing more than to see the Dragons add hockey. The WCHA will be down to 9 teams in 2013, with only the two of them representing Minnesota.

Kevin Buisman: “When your footprint spreads from Bowling Green to the far reaches of Alaska, it's a pretty big footprint.”

Tom Serratore – Bemidji State Men’s Hockey Coach: “They're in our conference in other sports. They're two and a half hours away. It's a natural. It would be a great rivalry for Bemidji State.”

The community has already proven its support of high level hockey. Here at Scheels Arena last season the Fargo Force averaged 3500 fans per game. That number would currently rank 22nd out of 58 Division 1 programs, and first in the new WCHA.

Tom Serratore: “It's a very exciting rink, it's loud. The game day atmosphere is exciting.”

Rick Goeb: “The number one thing is getting fans excited about the hockey program and getting them to go to the event. And once you get that going it is really going to take off.”

Doug Peters: “There is some very high interest in bringing hockey into our community and we've got some timelines that are coming and I've said it once and I'll say it again. It's now or never.”

For the Dragons, time is money.

There has only been one school to start Division 1 hockey from scratch in the last 10 years. That's Penn State, which received an $88 million donation, which included money to build a brand new arena.

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