Fans of Bemidji State hockey will have the opportunity to choose a seating location for season tickets, plus gain priority for season seat selection in the Bemidji Regional Event Center, at a special event Wednesday.
"Select a Seat Night" is scheduled to start at the John Glas Fieldhouse at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Hot dogs and soda will be served. The Bemidji State men's hockey coaches will be in attendance, along with the 2009-10 season captains.
A highlight film of the Beavers Frozen Four season of last year will be shown, along with a virtual tour of the BREC.
Those who purchase 2009-10 season tickets, and/or join Beaver Pride, will have priority in selecting season ticket seating at the BREC for its inaugural season in 2010-11.
"The people who get on board now will receive priority for tickets at the BREC," said Rob Bollinger, executive director of University Advancement. "There will be great seats for ticket holders in the new arena, whether they become Beaver Pride members or regular season ticket holders. Our main concern is rewarding longtime fans and supporters with the seating location of their choice."
Beginning in March 2010, season ticket holders for men's hockey will be invited, in order of their priority points, for a one-on-one session with BSU Foundation staff, to choose their preferred seating in the new arena.
"The options for seating will be laid out with the person choosing what they think is best for them," Bollinger said. "This is labor intensive on our part, personally meeting with each season ticket holder, but we believe it is the fairest way to do it."
Once current season ticket holders have chosen seats, the remaining seats will be available to those on a season ticket waiting list, in April 2010.
"People can wait if they want," Bollinger said, "but they earn priority if they get involved now."
Demand for tickets is expected to be high, considering in 2010-11 the Beavers will be playing in a new state-of-the-art arena as a member of the most prominent college hockey league in the nation - the WCHA.
"We encourage everyone who has an interest is season tickets to attend the event Wednesday," said Bollinger. "It's going to be very informative and fun - a great way to kick off the coming season. It's going to be a great way for people to get in on the ground floor for 2010-2011 season tickets."
With class in session for only a week, Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore said he already likes how the year has started. "I haven't seen this kind of energy and excitement since I've been in Bemidji," he said.
"There's a big freshman class and a ton of energy on campus - everyone is talking about it."
Informal meetings have been among the men's hockey team with some players skating at City Arena. "We're looking forward to starting our testing, and then dry land training," Serratore. "This time of year is fun - it's a good situation to get to know the some of the new guys in a less formal situation than organized practices."
Back for his junior year is Matt Read, a major cause for celebration in local hockey circles. With goaltender Matt Dalton signing an NHL contract with the Boston Bruins and giving up his final two years of college eligibility, there was a concern Read would take the same route.
However, Read turned down a professional contract and decided to return to BSU for his junior season. Through the Beavers magical run through the NCAA tournament last spring, Read proved he measured up well against the elite college hockey players in the country.
The Beavers also have two heralded transfers on-hand who will have to sit out the current season before starting play with the Beavers in 2010-11 - forward Drew Fischer, who transferred from the University of Minnesota and highly regarded goalie Jase Weslosky from St. Cloud State.
The transfer of Weslosky caused a ripple through the college hockey world.
Through three seasons and 72 games at SCSU, Weslosky compiled an overall record of 37-27-4 with a 2.43 goals against average and .920 save percentage. Included was a stellar sophomore season when Weslosky when was 16-13-2 with a 2.12 GAA and 2.12 save percentage - leading the Huskies to a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Weslosky, a fourth round draft choice of the New York Islanders, was academically ineligible at SCSU. He chose to transfer to BSU and sit out a year, practicing with the Beavers and getting his grades in in order, rather than signing a professional contract or returning to SCSU.
"Weslosky is a young guy - he started playing at SCSU as a 17-year-old," Serratore reported. "When he does play for the Beavers in 2010-11 he'll still be one of the youngest guys on the team. He's a great kid and I think things will work out well for him here."
Fisher, a sophomore, will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out this season. The son of Bemidji High grads Dave and Barb (Ghostley) Fisher, Drew is also the grandson on longtime Bemidji residents Dr. Jim and Connie Ghostley.
The Beavers begin official practice on Saturday, Oct. 3. That leaves precious little time for organized practice before the Beavers begin the season at The Glas on Friday, Oct. 9 against Air Force.