BEMIDJI, Minn. – A pair of Bemidji State University women’s hockey alumni recently coached their respective high school girls hockey teams to the Minnesota Girls Hockey State Tournament. Molly Arola and Emily Erickson coached the Alexandria and Hibbing/Chisholm girls hockey teams, respectively, to the state tournament in each of their first seasons as head coach.
Arola led the Cardinals to a 14-12-1 record during the regular season in her first season at the helm of the Alexandria girls hockey program. Alexandria drew No. 1 seed and defending state champions Blake in the first round, falling to the Bears 3-0.
Erickson, also in her first year as head coach, directed the Bluejackets to a 17-10-1 regular season record but fell to third-seeded Warroad High School in the first round, 5-2.
After each team defeated their first-round matchup in the consolation bracket, Erickson and Arola were set up to face one another in the consolation championship game. In tight defensive battle, Arola’s Cardinals scored a short-handed goal midway through the third period to seal a 1-0 win.
Erickson and Arola played at Bemidji State together from 2009-13 helping the Beavers go 49-59-17 (.392) during that span.
Arola, a native of Walker, Minn., appeared in 125 games throughout her career while also being named to the WCHA All-Academic Team and a WCHA Scholar Athlete three times.
Erickson, a native of Coleraine, Minn., played in 140 career games and is sixth on BSU’s all-time scoring list with 93 career points (45g-48a). She was a WCHA Scholar Athlete and WCHA All-Academic member four-times throughout her five-year career.
Bemidji State wasn’t the first place the duo wore the same sweater. Both Arola and Erickson grew up near the Grand Rapids, Minn., area and played for the Grand Rapids/Greenway girls high school hockey team.
“It’s crazy how life happens,” said Arola. “One minute Emily and I are high school teammates and making our own state tournament memories together and then we are playing college hockey together in the green and white, and now we are here coaching our teams against each other helping other kids make their own state tournament memories.”
“Life has a funny way of panning out and it was a great experience to be back with Emily,” continued Arola.
Erickson, a year older than Arola, helped the Lighting to a runner-up finish in the 2008 State Tournament her senior season, a team which Arola was also a part of for her junior year.
Another teammate of Erickson and Arola at Bemidji State also helped coach a team to the playoffs this season. Alex Citrowske (2011-2015), an assistant coach for the Brainerd girls hockey team, helped the Warriors reach the Section 8AA finals before falling to Roseau in the championship game that took four overtimes to decide a winner.
For more information on the Bemidji State hockey program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooden region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, BSU sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).