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Quistgaard still plans to make WCHA presentation

Ron Johnson maintained that the Bemidji City Council voted to save BSU hockey, not kill it.

"What we did was keep it alive," he said.

Johnson, one of six City Council members who voted in favor of a $50 million events center, said the vote kept the possibility of a new Bemidji State University hockey arena afloat.

A smaller arena might not be able to hold athletic offices, a second sheet of ice or a weight room, but the design team may still be able to incorporate suites and allow for seating of up to 4,000 spectators, Johnson said.

For BSU, the suites are a necessity, BSU President Jon Quistgaard said after the meeting.

"We're going to have to figure out some solution that would include suites," he said.

Quistgaard said he will still make his presentation to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association on Jan. 13 and ask that BSU be admitted into the conference.

"I think, obviously, I would have preferred they'd have taken a different path," Quistgaard said of the council vote. "But I understand they're under a lot of pressure."

He would not speculate about what might happen to the BSU hockey program if a smaller stadium does not meet WCHA requirements. He also would not say if the university would consider remodeling John Glas Fieldhouse instead of partnering with the city on the events center.

"I still trying to digest everything," Quistgaard said.