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Lakeland, BSU reach hockey broadcast deal

Eric Monsrud, left, and Scott Williams, right, call the final BSU men's hockey game at John Glas Fieldhouse last season. The duo will call the games next season on Lakeland Public Television. Pioneer File Photo/Eric Stromgren

Bemidji State men's hockey home game telecasts will move from KBSU to Lakeland Public Television beginning with the upcoming 2010-11 season.

Lakeland Public Television General Manager Bill Sanford and Bemidji State Athletic Director Rick Goeb announced the two-year agreement Monday.

The agreement solidified a tentative deal made earlier this year.

"The new partnership with Lakeland Public Television is a great benefit to Bemidji State, our Department of Athletics and our men's hockey program," Goeb said in a BSU press release. "Gaining membership into the WCHA, moving to a new state-of-the-art facility and securing this expanded television reach is taking us to a new level."

Lakeland Public Television will air all 16 home games in the Bemidji Regional Event Center this coming season beginning with the season-opening series Oct. 15-16 against North Dakota.

"Lakeland Public Television has a long history of working alongside Bemidji State University and is proud to partner with BSU to bring such a pivotal season of Beaver hockey into homes across the state of Minnesota," Sanford said in the press release. "It is an exciting time for all of us."

All but two of the series will be broadcast live on the Lakeland Plus channel. The series against North Dakota and Minnesota will be broadcast on Lakeland's primary channel (KAWE 9/22 in Bemidji), which broadcasts on a digital signal in high-definition.

All games will be replayed in high definition at midnight on Lakeland's primary channel.

The agreement ends a 10-year run of Bemidji State men's hockey telecasts on the KBSU channel, which is available on cable television and broadcasts BSU?football and basketball.

In June, Sanford said the broadcast agreement was tentative on finding sponsors to help cover the expense of production costs. Lakeland is expected to invest more than $200,000 in new equipment and hire up to 13 new part-time positions to televise games this season.

The sponsors noted in the BSU press release are Paul Bunyan Telephone, Leech Lake Gaming, Visit Bemidji, Bemidji Regional Event Center and MidContinent Communications.

"This is very a big investment," Sanford said. "Without the generous support from these sponsors, these telecasts would not be possible."

Bemidji radio personality Scott Williams will call the play-by-play and former Beaver hockey captain Eric Monsrud will provide analysis on the broadcasts this season.

Williams has called Beaver hockey games for the last 10 seasons on television. He has also called Beaver football, basketball, volleyball and women's hockey games.

Monsrud played on three Division II-era championship teams from 1991-1996 and has worked telecasts with Williams.

The move to Lakeland gives BSU hockey games a larger broadcast reach in the region.

Lakeland Plus is carried on cable systems throughout northern and central Minnesota. The signal covers an area south to Little Falls, west to Wadena and Fosston, east to Aitkin and Grand Rapids, and north to the Canadian border cities of Roseau and Warroad.

Lakeland Plus can be seen by Paul Bunyan Television customers on Channel 174. MidContinent Communications does not currently carry the channel, but the company expects to add the channel to its lineup soon, according to the BSU release.

Games aired on Lakeland's primary station will also be viewable in the Minneapolis, St. Paul, western Wisconsin, central Minnesota and southern Minnesota areas via satellite providers Dish Network and DirecTV.

The agreement gives BSU men's hockey one of the largest regional television audiences in the WCHA.

Fox Sports North is the largest broadcast outlet in the WCHA and carries all home and away University of Minnesota games to audiences in the upper Midwest.

North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota State University, Mankato home games are televised on local cable-based channels.

The majority of Denver games are aired on FSN Rocky Mountain.

St. Cloud State home hockey games are televised on the university's cable television channel.