Gophers women’s hockey conference takes unprecedented turn to crowdfunding

Published 8:04 am Friday, July 21, 2017

By Joe Christensen

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

With women’s college hockey facing continued financial concerns after North Dakota cut its program four months ago, the WCHA conference took what it believes to be an unprecedented step of seeking online donations Thursday.

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The WCHA Women’s League launched a RallyMe crowdfunding page, to solicit donations that can offset annual costs for the seven remaining teams — the Gophers, Bemidji State, St. Cloud State, Minnesota State-Mankato, Minnesota-Duluth, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

“We’re not in a dire financial situation,” said Katie Million, the WCHA Women’s League Commissioner. “We’re just trying to be proactive. As schools get less funding, their budgets are tightening. We just want to do everything we can in our power to lessen the burden of what they need to pay us financially.”

The league has produced 15 of the 17 national championships, since the NCAA began crowning a women’s hockey champion in 2001.

The WCHA’s annual budget is about $700,000, with the member schools paying about 80-85 percent of that annually, Million said. For the 2015-16 season, the eight schools, including North Dakota paid league dues of $87,000.

League expenses include the cost of officials, running the annual postseason tournament.

“Now, with only seven schools, they’re sharing a bigger piece of the pie,” Million said.

North Dakota’s folding brought the number of teams nationwide down to 34.
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