BEMIDJI, Minn. – Seniors Claudia Verkerke and Kerigan Dowhy as well as junior Kate Boland will serve as the captains of the 2021-22 Bemidji State University women’s ice hockey team. Verkerke will wear the “C” as the team captain, while Dowhy and Boland were selected as alternate captains.
The trio was voted to their leadership positions in a vote of returning players.
“To me, leadership, good positive leadership within a team, is all about developing relationships with your teammates and through that process, a connection is made. A deep, meaningful connection where caring is very apparent,” said BSU Women’s Hockey Head Coach Jim Scanlan. “It’s the ability to put the team first in all situations. It’s having a positive outlook and attitude in all situations.” Scanlan added, “That is what these three have provided throughout their careers and that is why they were elected to these leadership positions by their teammates.”
Verkerke has been a fixture on the Bemidji State attack playing in 60 games during the past three seasons, including 19-of-20 games last season.
Her teammates say, “Claudia as one of the most driven people I have ever met and she is always willing to put others before herself. She is extremely optimistic and radiates a positive energy that is contagious. She treats everyone with respect and pushes all of us to be better.”
Dowhy will take advantage of an extra year of eligibility and return for her fifth season. A goaltender, she played in 19 games a year ago and piled up 18 starts. She finished sixth in the WCHA with a 2.91 goals against average, while sitting eighth with a .904 save percentage. Dowhy recorded her third collegiate shutout Jan. 22 stopping all 46 Minnesota Duluth shots on goal. Entering her fifth season she is seventh on BSU's career wins list (13), eighth in minutes played (2657:10), tied for sixth in career shutouts (3), fifth in career goals against average (2.66), sixth in career save percentage (.909) and seventh with 1,177 career saves.
Her teammates say, “Kerigan gives everyone confidence and can pick anyone up if they are down. She sticks up for her teammates, holds everyone accountable, gives great advice and works hard both on and off the ice. She wants what is best for the team and she will strive for that. She is someone who will say what needs to be said in a direct, fair way.”
Boland has roamed the BSU blueline in 41 games during her two seasons in green and white, which includes all 20 contests in 2020-21. She finished her sophomore campaign fourth on the team with 30 blocked shots.
Here teammates describe her as a natural-born leader. She is someone that the team can always look to based on her work ethic, positive energy, confidence, honesty and trustworthiness. She is respected by every single person on this team and cares about our success. Kate is someone I know I could go to for anything and she would be there. She is without a doubt the nicest, most caring person I know.”
The Beavers finished the COVID-19 shortened 2020-21season 2-16-2 overall. At the conclusion of the season, graduating senior Mak Langei was selected as the WCHA Student-Athlete of the Year and became the third BSU women’s hockey team member to win the award and the team’s first since 2002-03.
Scanlan returns 20 student-athletes from a young 2020-21 squad to the roster for 2021-22.
The Beavers open the 2021-22 conference season Oct. 1-2 when they travel to St. Paul, Minn. to face WCHA newcomer University of St. Thomas in a two-game league series. The two-game set will kick off a 28-game WCHA slate that currently features 14 home contests. That number of games will likely grow as the team will announce its non-conference schedule at a later date.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University 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).