Wheelhouse selected to participate in USA Hockey National Festival
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Wheelhouse selected to participate in USA Hockey National Festival

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The 2012 Summer Olympics may currently be front and center, but for one Bemidji State University student-athlete, focus has been shifted to international play in a winter sport.  Erika Wheelhouse (D, Crookston, Minn.), senior captain of the BSU women’s hockey team, has been announced as one of 79 players selected to participate in the 2012 USA Women’s Hockey National Festival set for August 5-13 at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minn.

The one-week festival will culminate with the selection of a roster to represent the United States a U-22 three-game series versus Canada in Calgary, Alberta Aug. 16-19.

Attending the USA Hockey Women’s National Festival are 21 of the 23 members of the U.S. Women’s National Team that turned in a silver-medal performance at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championship in Burlington, Vermont. In addition, 14 of the players were on the 2010 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team, including four-time Olympian Jenny Potter, three-time Olympian Julie Chu  and two-time Olympian Molly Engstrom.

“We’re excited to be heading to the National Sports Center with 79 of the most talented players in the nation,” said Reagan Carey, director of women’s hockey for USA Hockey. “We’re proud of the success our women’s program has enjoyed, but we know we can become even better.”

A gritty defender, Wheelhouse, one of 15 current Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) players invited to participate in the festival, has accounted for nine goals and 37 assists in 110 games for the Beavers. With career highs of eight goals, which includes four power-play markers, and sixteen assists in a 24-point breakout a year ago, she will again anchor the Bemidji State blue line as a senior in 2012-13.

The festival participants will be divided into teams for daily practices and games at the Schwan Super Rink, part of the National Sports Center.  All practices and scrimmages are open to the general public.

The Bemidji State women’s hockey team establish a new program mark for wins in a season posting an overall record of 17-17-3 in 2011-12.  The Beavers, who also recorded an 11-15-2 record in WCHA play to finish sixth the final league standings and earn a berth into the WCHA Playoffs, will open the coming season Sept. 27, when they host a 7:07 p.m. exhibition game at Sanford Center.

Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is a member of the NCAA sponsoring 13 Division II sport programs which compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), while its men’s and women’s hockey teams compete at the NCAA Division I level and are members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).