Bemidji State ready for outdoor hockey
Friday, February 5, 2010
Bemidji State ready for outdoor hockey
MADISON, Wis. — When most hockey teams travel for a weekend series, they usually have a practice at the opponents rink the day before. However, on Friday when the Bemidji State women’s hockey team arrived in Madison for its series against the University of Wisconsin, the team bypassed the rink and headed straight to the football stadium for practice.

The University of Wisconsin men’s and women’s hockey teams are hosting the Culver’s Camp Randall Hockey Classic in which the Badgers will face-off against the Bemidji State women’s hockey team and the University of Michigan men’s hockey team in an outdoor game held at Camp Randall Stadium.

After a nine-hour bus ride, the BSU women’s hockey team arrived at Camp Randall Stadium where they had an hour of practice on the outdoor rink. The temperature was around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, with a 20 mile-per-hour wind on the ice. Being outdoor presented many different conditions that aren’t normally present in a collegiate hockey game.

“The environment was a lot of fun, but it was hard coming off a nine hour bus ride to get your legs going again,” said Annie Bauerfeld (Jr., For., Woodbury, Minn.). “Having warmer clothes helped a lot during practice, but it started to get really cold once you stopped moving around.”

“The ice felt a little different,” said Alana McElhinney (So., G., Calgary, Alberta.). “It got snowier more quickly which made the puck bounce differently, but it wasn’t that big of a factor.”

Playing outdoor hockey isn’t anything new for many of the players on the team as most of them played pick-up hockey on ponds during the winter growing up Minnesota.

“It nice to get back to the roots hockey by playing outside, but at the same time it’s an official game which makes for a unique experience,” said Sadie Lundquist (Fr., For., Cloquet, Minn.). “It was really exciting being out there for practice and you wanted to take it all in, but you also needed to be serious since this weekend is so huge for standings.”

The Badgers and the Beavers enter the weekend just separated by one point in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Standings.

“This weekend is really critical for us to stay in the hunt for fourth place,” said Lauren Williams (So., For., Eagan, Minn.). “We can’t lose our focus during the game, especially since we’re down a few players due to injuries.”

While a serious weekend lies ahead for the Beavers, the team did take time to enjoy and reflect upon the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It was a lot of fun to be out there and the atmosphere was relaxed.” Williams said. “When we first got out on the ice there was a lot of laughter among the players and even the coaches.”

“It’s great that we were given this chance to showcase our program along with women’s hockey in general,” commented Bauerfeld. “I think it’s good that the youth girls’ teams in the area get to see that women’s hockey is getting more opportunities that were normally reserved for men’s hockey.”

Tomorrow’s game is set to begin at 2 p.m. and will be aired on tape-delay on the Big 10 Network at 8 p.m., following the conclusion of the men’s Michigan vs Wisconsin game.

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