WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 27, 2012, 07:15 PM

MSUM puts hockey dreams on ice

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - The dream of Division-1 hockey at Minnesota State Moorhead has been put on ice. Today the university president said they couldn't raise enough money.

By: Dom Izzo, WDAY

The dream of Division-1 hockey at Minnesota State Moorhead has been put on ice. Today the university president said they couldn't raise enough money.

The Dragons have been in pursuit of hockey for nearly three years. Today that quest is over. The administration announced today they have not raised the necessary $37 million to launch the sport, which included men's and women's teams. MSUM made public back in July that they had raised $15 million towards its goal but says the current economic climate made raising the rest too tough.

Doug Peters – MSUM Athletic Director: “I am going thru the grieving process a little bit because it's not easy piece to swallow. People just weren't ready to make the commitment with some things going on, obviously very passionate about making it happen, other interests happening to be aware of, more it was being comfortable giving a large gift at this point, look back and feel good, but obviously very disappointed.”

Division One Hockey is not coming to MSU Moorhead any time in the near future. Those the words of Dragon President Edna Szymanski one of the main spearheads to try and land hockey, who told us the school had raised more than half of the needed $37 million to launch the sport.

Edna Szymanski – MSU Moorhead President: “We had a lot of interest. We had a lot of people say that we are very interested doing this, but some people were a little uncomfortable with where the economy is at right now and they weren't quite ready to commit. I don't think we can string it out and still be fair to the other institutions in D-1 hockey.”

Dom: “I've had a couple of chats with you in this office about how excited you were. So, you personally, what are your thoughts about this not happening?”

Edna Szymanski: “I would have rather seen it, but on the other hand I'm very passionate about what we do for our students, and to me that's everything. That is absolutely everything. I lay awake at night trying to make sure our budget is balanced and sustainable. Hockey I would have liked, but, student success comes first.”

Dom: “When you look at how this whole process developed, would you go back and change anything?”

Doug Peters – MSU Moorhead Athletic Director: “Not really. The one thing major piece couldn't avoid was when it became public. There may be a few things I tweak along the way, but I think the major strategy and the major elements we put together – they were the right things. The business model many people may question; do you need $37 million? The financial model was the right model. It was a big number, there’s no doubt about that. But if we're going to do it, we’re going to do it right. Doing it with the endowment model we chose was the right was to do it.”

Dom: “Do you feel that the reputation of the school has been hurt at all, that people might snicker, “well we didn't think MSUM was going to do it anyway,” what's your response to that?”

Doug Peters: “Absolutely not. At the end of day we had the courage to try something that was big and that served a need in the community. If anyone wants to fault us, our institution, or me for that, those aren't the people I’m interested in associating with anyway.”

When I asked if hockey will ever come, it wasn't ruled out, but said it's in the back of the closet right now.